Herbert H. and Grace A. Dow Foundation: Grants for Science Education

OVERVIEW: One of largest foundations associated with the Dow Chemical Company, this family funder prioritizes grantmaking in Michigan and supports arts and community programs, but education, with an emphasis on science, gets the most attention.

IP TAKE: This Dow family foundation restricts its grantmaking to Michigan, but has begun generously awarding STEM grants to some higher education programs. Grantmaking is competitive, but Dow accepts inquiries. 

PROFILE: Established in 1936 to honor her husband's memory, the Herbert H. and Grace A. Dow Foundation is the Michigan-based philanthropic vehicle of the Dow Chemical Company, which is 120 years and operates globally in over 160 countries. One of three other Dow foundations, this foundation is the largest and should not be confused with the others. Since its founder passed, Herbert Dow’s granddaughter Margaret Ann Riecker has served as a trustee since 1963 and as president in 2000, until she passed in 2014. The sixth president is Macauley Whiting, Jr., who is Grace Dow’s great grandson. The foundation prides itself on its family legacy and seeks to "improve the ­educational, religious, economic, and cultural lives of Michigan's people as their needs can be defined in a world which constantly presents different challenges and opportunities." The Dow Foundation invests in arts and community programs, science education, health and human services, community projects, religion and environment.

Dow's science education-related grantmaking comprises the gamut of its philanthropic activity in Michigan. It has also generously supported several Michigan universities with STEM contributions. The foundation maintains a broad approach to its STEM education grantmaking. 

Grantmaking prioritizes organizations in Michigan, specifically the Midland area and its surrounding area. Past grantees include its biggest and oldest grantees, Dow Gardens, a horticultural center in Midland. Other grantees include Delta College, a community college near Saginaw, to support its work to educate middle and high school students in STEM, Saginaw Valley State University, Alma College, Michigan State University, and MI-STAR, a collaborative effort to improve curriculum and teaching in the state. Dow's invest in STEM education is tied to its desire to support Michigan's economy. Like many Midwestern foundations, Dow sees STEM funding as a path toward building up the tech and manufacturing industry in the state. 

The Dow Foundation offers general support money for ongoing programs, and only funds organizations whose proposals clearly reflect planning towards the program's future self-sufficiency.

PEOPLE:

  • Macauley Whiting, Jr., President
  • Michael L. Dow, Vice President
  • Margaret E. Thompson, Secretary
  • Willard Mott, Treasurer
  • Ruth A. Doan, Assistant Secretary

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