APS Foundation and APS Corporate Giving

OVERVIEW: The APS Foundation supports STEM education, especially for K-12 teacher development. Corporate giving encompasses many other nonprofit issue areas in Arizona.

FUNDING AREAS: STEM K-12 education, civic and economic development, human services, environment, arts and culture, non-STEM education

IP TAKE:  For nonprofits not working in the field of STEM education, skip the APS Foundation and go right to APS corporate, which gives much more broadly.

PROFILE: Established in 1981, the APS Foundation is the charitable arm of the largest electric company in Arizona, the Arizona Public Service Company (APS). The company provides both retail and wholesale electric services in the state and has interests in coal, gas, oil, solar, and nuclear energy. The APS Foundation has invested millions of dollars to projects in Arizona. The foundation’s top area of interest is STEM education, as it believes STEM skills will attract quality businesses and industries to Arizona.

More specifically, the bulk of foundation funding goes to teacher development in STEM subjects. Grants typically seek to increase teachers’ knowledge about STEM topics and to boost their effectiveness in transferring that knowledge to students. APS looks for opportunities to support Arizona’s youth and teachers, with a focus on K-12 STEM education and partnerships with colleges and universities. However, the APS Foundation does not give grants to individual K-12 schools, religious or political groups, private or family foundations, animal shelters, or start-up organizations that have not been in operation for at least three years. It does not support health groups that focus on specific diseases, sports teams or programs, youth scouting, or advocacy organizations.

In addition to STEM education, APS as a company funds Arizona groups in civic and economic development, human services, environment, arts and culture, non-STEM education, and programs in which APS employees volunteer and serve as board members. This is part of APS corporate giving, and requests can be for grants and also in-kind services like printing, video production, and trash boxes. Most of the same funding restrictions apply as with the APS Foundation. Other APS community involvement efforts include employee volunteer work with nonprofits in Arizona communities, business mentoring for small business owners in the community, and a solar partner program.

Foundation grants tend to be several thousand dollars each. Another way to receive funds from APS is the STEM mini-grants program. These grants of up to $2,500 are awarded to K-12 public and charter school teachers for hands-on STEM classroom projects. Around $50,000 per year is available for these mini-grants, with the open application period starting in mid-August. Grantmaking is focused on Arizona, and all organizations must be located or providing services in the APS service territory. Organizations can apply for funding once per calendar year.

The APS Foundation accepts unsolicited grant applications from local nonprofits. APS Foundation has historically awarded grants in the fall, with an open application period between July and September. In addition, a spring cycle typically opens for applications in mid-January. Meanwhile, grantseekers can also apply for APS corporate grants at any time of the year and expect a decision back within 40 days. The best way to inquire with foundation-related questions is to email apsfoundation@aps.com. For all non-STEM grant requests, the best contact for questions is corporategiving@aps.com.

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