OVERVIEW: The philanthropic branch of Motorola Solutions provides grants in the areas of public safety, first responders, disaster relief and education, with a heavy emphasis on STEM-related disciplines. Education grants are awarded at the elementary, secondary, and postsecondary levels. Recipients range from museums to universities to after-school programs.
IP TAKE: If you want to stimulate young people's interest in pursuing STEM studies, improve postsecondary STEM training, and are concerned with reaching out to groups who are underrepresented in the STEM fields, this funder may have a solution. Motorola prioritizes projects in areas where it has a corporate presence.
PROFILE: While for a certain generation the name Motorola will likely elicit thoughts of the RAZR and Droid, that's just one element of the telecommunications company. Since 1928, Motorola has made computer components, auto parts, walkie-talkies, and network equipment. It currently exists as Motorola Solutions, minus the cell phone business that spun off. The philanthropic arm of the company, the Motorola Solutions Foundation, works to benefit the communities in which the company operates.
This includes a program of philanthropy that emphasizes STEM education (Motorola also supports public safety and disaster relief). The foundation's STEM grants fall under its Innovation Generation Grants program. The foundation is especially interested in work that encourages young women and other underrepresented groups to pursue studies in STEM.
That said, the foundation’s education priorities are to increase students’ STEM skills, increase engagement in STEM careers and support “hands-on” STEM programs serving K-12 and university students and teachers.
Motorola prefers to fund projects in areas where it has a presence. For the U.S., that means the cities and surrounding regions of Chicago, IL; Plantation, FL; Columbia, MD; Westminster, CO; Lawrenceville, GA; San Diego, CA; Seattle, WA; Salt Lake City, UT, Farmer Branch and Houston, TX; New York City, NY; and Tempe, AZ.
In primary and secondary education, awards have supported a wide range of recipients and programs, including K-12 school systems, scholarships, teacher development, professional associations, and youth programs.
Past higher ed grantees have been plentiful as well, with many awards benefiting both pre-college and university education. Funded projects have included career development for Latinos with STEM degrees, university faculty mentorships for graduate students, connecting teenagers with STEM undergrads, and a summer program for First Nation K-12 students. Other higher education STEM grants have supported outreach to stimulate interest in STEM among middle and high school students, especially girls and ethnic minority students.
While itemized grant amounts are not available on the foundation’s web site, the foundation states that awards range from $10,000 to $50,000 and average about $30,000. A complete listing of the previous year’s grant recipients can be found on the right-hand side of the foundation’s home page.
If you’re looking to apply, new grant announcements are released for each funding year, so check Motorola's website to stay up-to-date on guidelines and application deadlines. Applications must be submitted online.
Applying for funding through Motorola is an open but competitive process, and organizations outside the U.S. are also eligible to apply. Questions regarding eligibility can be answered on the foundation’s application or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Matt Blakely, Director
- Sirisha Yadlapati, Senior Program Director