Toshiba America Foundation: Grants for Science Education

OVERVIEW: Toshiba America Foundation is the U.S. philanthropic arm of the Japanese electronics and engineering corporation. The foundation prioritizes science and math learning in K-12 classrooms by supporting classroom teachers. Funding is distributed by grade level, with separate programs, deadlines, and grant amounts for K-5 and 6-12 classes.

IP TAKE: This foundation seeks direct impact. It awards grants to science and math projects that teachers implement right in their classrooms, including funding for the materials needed to make those projects happen.

PROFILE: Toshiba America Foundation prioritizes science and math learning in both public and nonprofit private schools throughout the U.S. The foundation “believes science and mathematics are exciting fields in which all students can succeed with the proper tools and instruction.” It supports STEM education by directly funding projects designed by K-12 classroom teachers—meaning learning that happens during the traditional school day and school year (no afterschool programs or summer camps). The foundation divides its support into two categories: Grants for Grades K-5 and Grants for Grades 6-12.

For Grades K-5, Toshiba America Foundation funds $1,000 grants to classroom teachers. These must go directly to materials necessary to implement the teacher’s “innovative hands-on project into their own classroom.” Note that funds may not be used to make computer purchases. Toshiba America Foundation considers innovative projects that enable students to enjoy learning. The foundation asks teachers to share what they need "to make learning math and science fun for students.” The foundation also sees innovation in projects that grow out of students’ own curiosities, as well as those that capitalize on the expertise of “community partners.” New grantseekers should review some of the recent K-5 projects Toshiba has funded for a stronger sense of how the foundation awards its $1,000 material grants to K-5 teachers. Toshiba America Foundation’s K-5 grant application is an online process with an annual deadline in early October.

For the foundation’s Grants for Grades 6-12 program, Toshiba seeks teachers who are “passionate about making science and mathematics more engaging” for their students. In pursuit of this engagement, the foundation provides funding beyond the materials necessary to make the project happen, so for this student group, grants come in either “$5,000 or less” or “more than $5,000” varieties. Applications in the former category are accepted on a rolling basis throughout the year, and applications for the larger grants are reviewed twice a year, in February and August. The foundation features a number of past grants for grades 6-12 on its page.

The Toshiba America Foundation looks for projects that not only involve project-based learning, but that also can result in measurable outcomes.  It has a rigorous definition of what this means in terms of building projects, from objectives, to methodologies, to rejected alternative approaches.

Grantseekers will want to consult with the foundation's staff before starting an application. The foundation helpfully states that "teachers are welcome to call the Toshiba America Foundation at (212) 596-0620 to discuss their project ideas" before submitting a proposal.

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