Ecolab Foundation: Grants for Science Education

OVERVIEW: Ecolab Foundation, the philanthropic arm of its corporate namesake, gives to a broad swath of programs and interests, including education, community development, the environment, and arts and culture.

IP TAKE: Ecolab Foundation has a firm commitment to education — with K-12 a major focus area — so long as the programming occurs in an Ecolab community. The key program is Youth and Education, but support may also be available through its Environment & Conservation funding stream.

PROFILEEcolab Foundation was established in 1986 by its corporate namesake, a company that describes itself as a “global leader in water, hygiene and energy technologies and services.” The foundation’s overall giving is approaching the $81 million mark, with a focus on “educational, cultural, environmental, and community development programs that are good for business and good for society.”

Ecolab Foundation’s commitment to science education falls under its Youth and Education giving area with a particular emphasis on at-risk youth. Given its corporate focus, it’s no surprise that the foundation is particularly committed to K-12 STEM education. It also prioritizes college and career readiness as part of its education commitment. If your college readiness program is STEM-related, so much the better.

Ecolab Foundation’s STEM education giving flows through its Visions for Learning grant program, which the foundation describes as its “signature teacher classroom grant program.” The directive of the program is straightforward: Grants provide K-12 teachers with “funds to obtain additional materials to help enrich the classroom experience.”  

But Visions for Learning also supports educators of other stripes, including paraprofessionals, administrators, and other licensed staff, so there’s room for creativity here. In fact, the foundation requests precisely that, along with innovation that will challenge and motivate students, raise their achievement levels, “increase their understanding of academic content," and benefit their abilities to make connections between the classroom and life.

Dollar amounts range from $100 - $3,000, dependent upon the project's scope and needs. The application is available online in spring for support the following school year.

If your science education program falls outside of the traditional classroom or school environment, there might still be a place for you with Ecolab Foundation. Additional Youth and Education support flows through its general community grants pot (which also includes its other three giving focus areas). This application is available online in the summer of each year.

Similarly meriting consideration is the foundation's Environment & Conservation funding stream. As per the foundation, "environmental stewardship...is a priority in all areas of our business." In addition to conservancy and preservation work, Ecolab also "puts a high priority on teaching the value of conservation to young people," which it does by giving "grants for hands-on learning experiences...for youth from all walks of life to experience and appreciate the natural environment around us all."

No matter what, you must be a 501(c)(3). You must also be seeking to implement your education program in either St. Paul, Minnesota (where Ecolab is headquartered and which has its own application process) or in one of the corporation’s regional communities located throughout the U.S.

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