Medtronic Philanthropy: Grants for Science Education

OVERVIEW: Medtronic Philanthropy is the philanthropic branch of Medtronic, a leading medical technology firm. This funder supports science education and STEM grants for K-12 programs, as well as STEM scholarships and fellowships in higher education.

IP TAKE: Science education and STEM scholarships are natural funding choices for a funder associated with a medical technology firm. Contact this funder with proposals for ensuring greater access to science education opportunities.

KEY INFO: Medtronic Philanthropy was founded in 1978-- as the Medtronic Foundation-- as the philanthropic arm of Medtronic, a global medical technology firm with headquarters in Minneapolis, MN. Its grant-making activities are aligned with the company’s interest in health care, science, and technology. In the area of education, Medtronic Philanthropy supports STEM education projects and initiatives that are designed to boost interest in science, technology, engineering, and math.
Like many foundations supporting STEM, Medtronic Foundation is especially interested in programs that ensure greater access to STEM education opportunities for students that have been traditionally underrepresented in these fields, including women, African-Americans, and Hispanics. Programs supported by this funder should ignite student curiosity about science and technology through hands-on programs. Medtronic further supports future innovations in science and technology by funding college scholarships and fellowships for students pursing majors in a STEM field.

Grants from the Medtronic Philanthropy generally go to nonprofit organizations that work in schools or serve students through enrichment activities rather than to school systems as direct support. The foundation’s activities are nationwide in scope. Recent science education grants from Medtronic  exceeded more than $4.5 million per year. Examples of recent grants included:

  • $800,000 to Teach for America for the organization’s math and science initiatives
  • $100,000 to the Institute for Bioengineering and Bioscience in Minnesota
  • $35,000 to FIRST Robotics Team for Robotics team competitions in Tennessee schools
  • $10,000 to Turning Learning Inside Out in Fort Worth, TX, for an outdoor classroom for hands-on science and math education

Medtronic gives to organizations nationwide but appears to prefer organizations and activities in areas in which the company has a corporate presence. Minnesota, where Medtronic is headquartered, is one of the largest recipients of grants from this foundation. The most recent grant report from this funder indicated that Minnesota-based organizations and projects received more than half of the total amount the foundation gave in the science and education and STEM areas.

Organizations seeking Medtronic support should introduce themselves by submitting a two-page letter of inquiry for review by foundation staff. The foundation chooses organizations for full proposals based on the inquiries received. However, the foundation announced on its website in 2013 that it would handle applications on an invitation-only basis.


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