OVERVIEW: Northrop Grumman and its namesake foundation support STEM education initiatives designed to increase opportunity and diversity in the science, technology and engineering fields. The foundation makes direct grants to national-level organizations and offers matching funds for employee giving. Funding mostly goes to competitions, camps and professional development opportunities for K-12 education, but also to higher ed in the form of scholarship funds and support for national diversity organizations.
IP TAKE: This funder is especially interested in efforts to make the STEM professions more representative of the nation as a whole. If your goal is to extend STEM opportunities for women, African Americans, Hispanics, and other underrepresented groups—or you want to get more young people into cyber security—this funder shares your agenda.
PROFILE: Northrop Grumman is a leading aerospace and defense technology firm. The company produced the B-2 bomber, many of the unmanned drone aircraft used in U.S. military operations, is building the James Webb Space Telescope for NASA, has developed some of the most advanced radar and sensors available, and works in cyber security.
The foundation directly lays out its “top priority” as “providing unique education experiences” in STEM for teachers and students alike. To that end, it looks to “diverse and sustainable national-level programs that enhance the education experience for students and provide teachers with the training and tools they need to be successful in the classroom.”
The foundation gives almost entirely to STEM education, a mix of K-12 and higher education. There are two main ways the foundation makes contributions to education—a Matching Gifts For Education program in which Northop Gumman offers a dollar-for-dollar match from $50 to $2,500 to its employees contributions to qualified educational institutions, direct grants that give “funding to national-level STEM programming.” and support for initiatives to improve racial, ethnic, and gender balance in the field.
As far as K-12 grants, one big outlet for Northrop Grumman’s giving is a set of competitions, fairs, camps and other sorts of getaways for students and teachers.
One standout program involves Northrop Grumman's effort to get young people working in the field of cybersecurity. For example, they are a major supporter of CyberPatriot, which hosts an international competition for high school students to fire up the next generation of patriotic programmers (Northrop Grumman has actually hired a number of former participants) as well as educational “Cybercamps” and an elementary school initiative designed to introduce students to STEM and educate them about online safety issues.
Though it comes in at a lower level, the foundation also supports higher ed STEM. This it does by giving to scholarship funds, diversity programs, organizations serving current and former members of the military, career pipeline programs, and cybersecurity programs. Beneficiary organizations have included academic or professional diversity organizations, scholarship funds, and a variety of programs at universities, colleges, and community colleges. Initiatives have included undergraduate mentorships, efforts to attract more women and underrepresented minorities into the field, an honors undergraduate program, and an initiative to get more two-year college STEM grads to pursue a four-year and graduate-level education.
Getting back to the matching grants program: for “verified” employee donations, the foundation will match donations from up to four separate individuals dollar-for-dollar, with a $2,500 cap on matching donations per calendar year. Primary, secondary, and non-profit postsecondary and vocational schools are all eligible, but there is an extensive list of programs the foundation will not support, so check to make sure you qualify.
While not under the umbrella of the foundation, Northrop Grumman’s Aid to Higher Education program provides funding from the corporation to support initiatives that “promote the advancement of science, technology, engineering and math at targeted colleges and universities.” This initiative does not accept unsolicited proposals; you must first request a meeting by sending “a brief summary of both your organization and the project that would be supported.” Apply online here.
The Northrop Grumman Corporation also directly supports the areas of "education, services for veterans and the military, health and human services, as well as the environment," with application deadlines and additional information listed here. The foundation has also been a supporter of a number of associations and programs (some of them STEM-related) for military service members and veterans in higher education.
- Sandra Evers-Manly, Vice President of Global Corporate Responsibility, Northrop Grumman; President, Northrop Grumman Foundation
- Silva Thomas, Director, Investment Operations, Northrop Grumman Foundation