A Look at Union Pacific’s New Support for Southwest Nonprofits

As we’ve covered in the past, Union Pacific Foundation is the philanthropic arm of Union Pacific Corporation and Union Pacific Railroad. Over the years, its giving has been heavily focused on the arts, especially the visual arts, music, and theater. It's also all about supporting communities, specifically those that make up the 56 large regions along its railroad lines, which are quite extensive.

A big part of Union Pacific’s grantmaking occurs in the Southwest, which is where our coverage brings us today.

Grants in Texas

Hands down, the state of Texas saw the biggest show of Union Pacific’s support in the Southwest. The funder recently committed over $1.13 million in grants to 133 Texas nonprofit groups. The most grants here were awarded to Houston nonprofits, including the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, the Girl Scouts of San Jacinto Council, Houston Hospice, and the Houston Public Media Foundation. Quite a few San Antonio groups also caught this funder’s attention, including the San Antonio River Foundation, Mission Road Developmental Center, and the Hispanic Leadership Development Foundation.

Grants in Oklahoma

In the most recent grant cycle, the UP Foundation gave $107,000 to 18 local nonprofits in Oklahoma. The biggest concentration of these grants was Oklahoma City, which received five grants. Grantees in OKC included the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum, Limbs for Life Foundation, and Infant Crisis Services.

Grants in Arizona

Grantmaking in Arizona extended to 33 nonprofits and totaled $240,000 in the UP Foundation’s recent giving round. Nine of these grants went to Phoenix groups, followed by six to Tucson and five to Yuma. The new Phoenix grantees included Young Arts Arizona Ltd., the Arizona Informant Foundation, and Arizona Town Hall. 

Grants in New Mexico

New Mexico saw the fewest UP Foundation grants in the Southwest. Sixteen local nonprofits are sharing $91,000 in grant money from the most recent distribution. Of note, the cities of Albuquerque and Santa Fe were passed over for funding. Alamogordo received three grants, Las Cruces also three, and Tucumcari received four. Sample grantees from the Tucumcari include the Tucumcari Railroad Museum Corporation and the Eastern New Mexico Bluegrass and Old Tyme Music Association.

In addition to these four Southwestern states, Union Pacific also awards grants to nonprofits in Arkansas, California, Colorado, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, Oregon, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Washington, Wisconsin, and Wyoming. Since this funder is not endowed, its grant money comes from the operating profits of Union Pacific Corporation.

The UP Foundation accepts online applications, and the 2016 open application process begins on July 1. Check out the funder’s community-based grant program page and its FAQ page to learn more about getting in on this action.


  • Union Pacific Foundation: Grants for Visual Arts
  • Union Pacific Foundation: Grants for Theater
  • Union Pacific Foundation: Grants for Dance
  • Union Pacific Foundation: Grants for Higher Education
  • Union Pacific Foundation Cracks Open the Door for Creative Writing Enterprises
  • Union Pacific Foundation Likes Having Community Arts Groups on Board
  • Support for Your Film Initiative Might Mean Hitting the Railroad
  • Union Pacific Foundation's K-12 Education Funding: A Quick Look