ExxonMobil: Grants for Science Education


OVERVIEW: The ExxonMobil Foundation prioritizes math and science education, women’s economic empowerment, and efforts to combat malaria.

IP TAKE: Like many big corporate foundations, ExxonMobil partners with organizations (like the National Math and Science Initiative) and generously funds them over multiple years. This funder supports higher education as well as job and skills training. However, funding is directed toward areas where ExxonMobil has a community presence and unsolicited requests are rarely accepted or approved.

PROFILE: The ExxonMobil Foundation is the primary philanthropic arm of oil and gas company ExxonMobil. It “has a strategic focus supporting education with an emphasis on math and science in the United States, promoting women as catalysts for economic development and ending deaths from malaria.” The majority of ExxonMobil's science education grants support a handful of high-profile initiatives, but it does give smaller amounts to some secondary programs.

For post-secondary grantseekers, a good place to start is with ExxonMobil’s higher education grantmaking. It prioritizes “programs that improve teaching and learning in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.” The foundation also “support[s] diversity-based education programs and professional societies.”  The majority of this funding comes through the Educational Matching Gift Program, which offers three-to-one matching contributions from company retirees and employees.

Through its Outreach Program, ExxonMobil also supports select U.S.-based “universities that seek to improve the career opportunities of women and minorities, particularly in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.” The company also funds international organizations and emphasizes its grantmaking in Canada and the MENA region (the Middle East and North Africa).

Grantseekers in academic science research should also consider ExxonMobil’s antimalarial efforts, which look for “New approaches and passionate, highly-trained leaders.”

The ExxonMobil Foundation also supports a number of math and science initiatives aimed at both K-12 and higher education, though the foundation funds just a handful of major organizations in its effort to improve the United States’ standing in the STEM world. This includes major support for groups like the National Math and Science Initiative (NMSI) and the ExxonMobil Teachers Academy,  which supports professional development for elementary and middle school teachers.

Aside from these flagship programs, ExxonMobil supports a handful of other programs in science and education. It funds a number of professional groups for STEM teachers and professionals. The foundation also awards a number of smaller grants to individual public school districts.

Lastly, although ExxonMobil’s Environment program receives less funding compared to its education programs, several universities received grants in this area, including six-figure sums to support research and programs in biodiversity, conservation, and related areas.

ExxonMobil is a large but unapproachable funder. It prefers organizations in communities where it has “established or proactively developed relationships,” though it occasionally supports “organizations that operate across a nation or around the globe.” Furthermore, it “does not seek and rarely funds unsolicited grant applications and project proposals.”

That said, Exxonmobil gives out millions a year, and much of that funding is accessible elsewhere, either through professional development, student programs, or groups like the NMSI. For more information on ExxonMobil’s giving areas and recent recipients, check out its most recent Worldwide Giving Report, found on the corporation’s Worldwide Giving home page.