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Grants from the Gridiron


The Super Bowl is just days away. Hostesses are prepping the chips and dip. footballFootball fans are preparing for the biggest game of the year. Players and coaches are game planning. The media is talking about the amount of air in the footballs.

At the we want to take this opportunity to share with you grant-making foundations led by current and former NFL players as well as coaches. These individuals are making an impact on the field and off the field as well. Take a look at some of these foundations when you are planning your project or program.

Like most foundations in general, NFL player’s foundations also have specific causes they fund. Don’t make the assumption that the professional athletes only fund sports activities. Most do fund youth sports. However, a lot of them also fund other topics including those that focus on overall community well being.  

One unique aspect of these foundations is that they are usually focused on specific geographic locations. The athletes mostly support their hometowns, college towns, or community where they are currently playing or have played. Seek out local athletes, or those from your area, when looking for grants from these foundations.

Wes Welker Foundation

Denver Broncos’ wide receiver Wes Welker is dedicated to supporting and encouraging at-risk youth. Through his foundation, Welker awards grants to schools and non-profit organizations within Oklahoma City or the geographic limits of the Oklahoma City Public School District. The grants must be used to serve high school-aged youth or younger. There is no maximum or minimum grant amount. Applications are accepted twice a year, before Sept. 15 and Feb. 15.

Justin J. Watt Foundation

Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt was a college football player at the University of Wisconsin when he realized not every child had access to athletics. That was the beginning of his foundation. Schools and organizations that provide athletic opportunities to middle–school-aged students (6th-8th grades) during or after school can apply for these grants. The funds must be used to purchase uniforms or equipment for the athletic programs.  Applications are reviewed quarterly (January, March, June, and September). There is no minimum or maximum grant amount. The foundation has awarded over $600,000 in grants since its inception.

Jason Taylor Foundation

Non-profit organizations in south Florida (Miami Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach Counties) can apply for funding from the Jason Taylor Foundation. Taylor is a former Miami Dolphins defensive end. The foundation funds creative, innovative projects that fill an observed need for children in the south Florida community. Projects focused on improved health care, education, and quality of life initiatives are preferred.  Past projects have included reading rooms, school supply donations, and learning centers. Grant amounts depend on the organization’s project budget. Current deadlines are unavailable so check the website for updates.

Kelly Cares Foundation

The Kelly Cares Foundation, founded by Brian and Paqui Kelly, supports health, education, and community through its grant-making foundation. Brian Kelly is the head coach of Notre Dame football. The health component funds breast cancer awareness, prevention, and research. The Foundation supports education at all levels and capacities. Additionally, the Foundation supports projects and initiatives that encourage the engagement of individuals in their local communities. Eligible organizations must be non-profit. The deadline for grant applications is Dec. 31st each year. There is no maximum or minimum grant award. The Foundation has distributed more than $1.2 million in financial support since 2009.

Doug Flutie Jr. Foundation for Autism

Non-profit organizations and schools in New England, New York, New Jersey, Southern California, and select parts of Canada that provide services, education, and advocacy for children with autism spectrum disorder can apply for grants from the Doug Flutie Jr. Foundation. Flutie was a quarterback in the NFL for several years. Grant guidelines are posted on the website every July. Applications are accepted from the time the guidelines are posted until the end of September. The maximum grant award is $20,000.

NFL Foundation

The NFL Foundation also provides grants to support youth football programs, health and safety initiatives for young athletes, and community programs. The Foundation has nine different grant programs. Some of the money is funneled through the individual NFL teams though the foundation directly offers several grant programs to community organizations and athletic programs as well.

Additionally, the NFL provides grants to organizations in the city where the Super Bowl is played. This year six non-profit organizations received a combined $600,000 in legacy grants through this program. Funds awarded helped with the purchase of athletic equipment, the placement of athletic trainers at local tournaments, student mentoring, protecting the water supply and restoring forest health, full-time coaches in schools, and nutrition education. So whatever the final score of Super Bowl XLIX, Arizona charities are guaranteed a win.

There are many, many more NFL players and coaches that have grant-making foundations. If you don't see your geophraphic location or grant focus above, contact us. We can help pair you with the right foundation.


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Three Ways to Justify Grants for Bike Lanes


A municipality wants to add bike lanes to several stretches of local bikeroadways. Local funding is limited so the decision makers want to explore possible grant opportunities. Finding grants that specifically fund bike lanes is the obvious place to start. However, there are several different ways to validate the need for bike lanes.

Think of all the different benefits that might result from the bike lanes.  Each one of them can turn into a potential funding avenue.  The bike path might help all citizens be healthier.  It might do good things for the environment. It might further the cause of bicycling in general.  By way of example, below are funding sources for each of these approaches.


Possible funding theme: Health and Wellness

Even a relaxing bike ride at 10 mph will burn 281 calories, according to NutriStrategy. Thus, adding bike lanes to a community will provide a safe way for people to get exercise and maintain a healthy lifestyle. Applications to health and wellness agencies could include statements from local health and wellness experts about the chance to increase exercise opportunities with the addition of bike lanes. One available grant for this funding theme is from Aetna. This grant program supports projects that identify causes of obesity and potential best practices for addressing obesity, specifically the impact of our neighborhoods and on the “built environment” for promoting population health and weight loss. Grants that serve under-served, low-income, and minority communities will receive special consideration. Specific dates for the 2015 grant cycle have not been released yet though it is expected applications will be accepted beginning in April. Awarded grants will total either $25,000 or $50,000.

Possible funding theme: The Environment

With dedicated bike lanes, community members may be more likely to ride their bike to work or to run errands. That would mean more cars are left parked in the garage, thus reducing the impact on the surrounding environment. Grants that support environmental projects or aim to reduce pollution would be another great theme for the construction of bike lanes. The Energy Foundation would be a great resource for this subject. The Climate Program, The Public Engagement Program, and the Transportation Program, all through this foundation, would be possible avenues for funding. The Foundation strongly encourages first-time grant seekers to send in a Letter of Inquiry before submitting a full application. Applications are accepted throughout the year. Grants awarded in 2014 ranged from $10,000 to $3 million.

Possible funding theme: Bike Lanes

Never overlook the obvious. Bike lanes can be funded by grantors looking to increase bike traffic and bike projects. The PeopleForBikes Community Grant Program would be a great place to start. This grant program provides funding for projects that encourage bicycling in communities across the country, specifically bicycle infrastructure. Non-profit organizations, city and county governments, or state and federal agencies working locally are eligible to apply. PeopleForBikes will fund engineering and design work, construction costs including materials, labor, and equipment rental, and reasonable volunteer support costs. The maximum grant award is $10,000. The spring grant cycle ends soon, on Jan. 30. Don’t fret. The next grant cycle begins June 15.


Photo Credit: Till Krech reserves the right to delete any comments that do not contribute useful questions or information, are direct advertisements, or are otherwise inappropriate.

School Physical Education Grant Opportunities


Did you know the average school budget for Physical Education is only $7PE64 per year?  And that 48% of all high schools have no PE? Plus, despite an increase in obesity in children, there is no federal law requiring physical education to be provided to students in the American education system. Often, physical education departments in schools have to look for outside funding like those found in grant opportunities. Below is a list of just a few of the grants designed to help schools get and keep kids active.    

Fuel Up to Play 60

Part of the Play 60 NFL Program, the Fuel Up to Play 60 grant program awards grants to K-12 schools to improve physical activities in schools. Up to $4,000 per year is available to qualified K-12 schools to encourage healthy changes. The next deadline to apply is Tuesday, June 16. Funds awarded will be used in the 2015-2016 school year. The focus for this year’s grant program is on several different areas to improve physical education including in-class physical activity breaks, dance activities, and recess improvements that could cover physical playground improvements.  

Coca Cola Foundation

Applications for grants from the Coca-Cola Foundation are accepted year round. The foundation supports several community priorities, including active healthy living. There is no maximum grant award. Only online applications are accepted. Since its inception in 1984, The Coca-Cola Foundation has given back more than $650 million to communities around the world. 

Finish Line Youth Foundation

Schools could partner with non-profit organizations to apply for a grant from the Finish Line Youth Foundation. This foundation supports youth athletic programs as well as sports and active lifestyle camps. Camps that serve disadvantaged and special needs children are given special priority. Grants may cover programs or projects as well as scholarships to help youth attend camps. Grants normally range from $1,000-$5,000. Applications are accepted on a quarterly basis. The next deadline is March 31.  

Healthy Schools Grants

Elementary and secondary schools in 32 counties in northwestern Wisconsin are eligible for this grant program from the Security Health Plan Foundation. To see the eligible counties, visit the webpage linked above. Although this program is targeted toward a limited geographic area, the amount available ($25,000) makes this worth mentioning. These grants can be used to start new projects or to improve programs already in existence. Programs geared toward behavioral and dental health, or those that seek to extend health coverage to uninsured students, will be given special consideration. Security Health Plan Foundation will award $150,000 in grant awards this year. Letters of intent are due Feb. 27.    

Additional information

  • The U.S. Department of Education normally awards millions of dollars in funding through the Carol M. White Physical Education Program to initiate, expand, or enhance physical education and nutrition education programs, including after-school programs, for students in grades K-12. However, no new grants are being awarded for this school year. New grants will be awarded for the 2015-2016 school year. The deadline for applications has not been announced although it is expected applications will be due in April. Check back here for deadline announcements.

  • The Presidential Youth Fitness Program is technically not a grant program but instead provides the FITNESSGRAM assessment, training, and awards for students. Schools chosen to receive the program will not receive a check since resources are sent directly from the supplier. This is a three-year program. A generous donation of $10 million from the General Mills Foundation (the largest donation in the foundation’s history) has been committed over six years to help implement the Presidential Youth Fitness Program in schools nationwide.


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Grants for Environmental Projects


In 2010, the City Council of Asheville, North Carolina adopted a goal of reducing its carbon footprint by 20% over five years. They adopted a broad range of ienvironment2nitiatives with the largest project replacing all 9,000 of the city’s street lights with energy efficient LED fixtures. Of the 17 environmental projects totaling over $10 million in project costs, over half were funded through grants. . For example, the community used funding from The Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant Program from the U.S. Department Energy for phase one of the street light project. The grants totaled over $4 million, 42% of the city’s total costs In the end, the community is expecting to save over 2,000 tons of carbon dioxide just by changing the street lights. Additionally, the environmental projects will also save the city millions of dollars in energy reduction.  

Asheville is just one example of a community focusing on energy savings and protecting the environment. If your municipality or non-profit organization is hoping to do the same, check out these grants below. 

Environmental Justice Small Grants Program

The Environmental Protection Agency offers this grant program for local environmental and public health issues in a community. The deadline for this fiscal year is January 9 so it may be prudent to begin planning for next year. The main goal of the program is to help communities understand and address exposure to multiple environmental risks, especially issues involved in climate change. Underrepresented communities, small and/or impoverished, are favored in this program. Maximum grant award is $30,000.  

Wells Fargo Foundation

This bank foundation has two environmental grant programs. One program, Environmental Solutions for Communities, puts the focus on environmental concerns in communities. This program includes sustainable agriculture, forestry, water quality, land conservation, and support for building health ecosystems.  Municipalities as well as non-profit organizations and public school systems are eligible to apply. Applications are accepted from September through December each year. The second program, Clean Technology and Innovation, hopes to partner with universities, colleges, labs, and entrepreneur accelerator programs to develop new clean and innovative green technologies. This is an invitation-only program, though you can send an email to be considered for a formal invitation if you have a worthy topic in mind. Both programs favor projects that can involve Wells Fargo employee volunteers, as well as projects that deliver long-term, measurable results.  

Patagonia Foundation

The Patagonia Foundation wants to support local environmental groups taking on a local issue. Eligible entities must be able to produce measureable results with specific goals, objectives, and action plans. Non-profit organizations and municipalities are eligible to apply. One priority area for this foundation is protecting and restoring native fish populations and their habitat. Other environmental projects, such as protecting wildlife, restoring watersheds, defending forests, and more, are also funded. Applications are accepted twice a year, before April 30 and Aug. 31. The maximum grant award is $12,000.  

Energy Foundation

The Energy Foundation supports six different grant programs. The Buildings Program aims to increase the efficiency of homes and businesses to reduce carbon emissions and utility bills. The Climate Program funds projects to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Organizations wanting to help move toward cleaner, more affordable source of energy should apply to the Power Program.  The Public Engagement Program seeks to build support for clean energy and strong climate policies. Projects focused on transportation efficiency and clean fuels can be funded through the Transportation Program. The final program, Energy Foundation China, is available only to Chinese organizations. Projects must be larger than a local community, so it is recommended that neighboring communities or several entities partner together. Non-profit organizations are eligible to apply. The Foundation strongly encourages first-time grant seekers to send in a Letter of Inquiry before submitting a full application. Applications are accepted throughout the year. Grants awarded in 2014 ranged from $10,000 to $3 million.


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Grants from Retail Foundations


Tomorrow is Christmas Eve. All the procrastinators are scrambling to Target, Walmart, and other retailers to finish, or start, their Christmas shopping. The stores are bringing in billions of dollars in holiday sales. Did you know that a lot of retailers use their revenuestores to fund foundations that also give out millions of dollars in grants? Below is a list of just a few of the stores that also support a variety of causes their foundations.

Walmart Foundation

In 2013, Walmart and the Walmart Foundation gave $1.3 billion in cash and in-kind contributions around the world, surpassing 2012's total by more than $244 million. This foundation supports several causes: hunger relief and healthy eating, sustainability, women’s economic empowerment, career opportunity improvements, veteran’s causes, and natural disaster recovery. The Walmart Foundation also has three different funding amounts. Non-profits operating on a national level can receive grants of $250,000 and above. Those operating on a regional/state level are eligible for $25,000-$250,000, while individual Walmart stores can award grants ranging from $250-$2,500 for local non-profit organizations. Only Letters of Intent (LOIs) are accepted for the national giving program. Applications for state-wide grants are accepted during designated periods that can be found on the website. Community grants for 2014 will be accepted until Dec. 31.

Target Foundation

School field trips, early childhood reading programs, and arts, culture and design initiatives in school, are all supported by grants from Target Foundation. The Foundation also has special support for arts and social service programs initiatives in its hometown of the twin cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul. Early Childhood Reading and Arts, Culture & Design in Schools grant applications are accepted March 1- April 30. Target Field Trip Grants applications are accepted Aug. 1–Sept. 30. To be eligible for a grant, an organization must be a 501(c)(3) charitable organization, an accredited school, or a public agency located. Field trip grants are $700. Reading and arts/culture/design grants are $2,000.

Lowe’s Charitable and Educational Foundation

This major home improvement store’s foundation focuses on education and community improvement projects in communities it serves. Lowe’s Charitable and Educational Foundation has contributed nearly $200 million since it started in 2007. The company’s major education initiative, Lowe’s Toolbox for Education, has helped 940 different schools in 49 states. Projects funded in this program include technology, safety improvements, library needs, and more in K-12 schools. Education grants can range from $2,000 to $100,000, with the large majority falling between $2,000 and $5,000. The spring application cycle will run Jan. 1–Feb. 13, 2015. Community improvement grants to non-profits and municipalities range from $5,000 to $100,000, with most projects falling between $10,000 and $25,000. These grants can support projects such as technology, building upgrades, and safety improvements. The spring application cycle will be March 30–May 29, 2015.

The Container Store Foundation

The Container Store Foundation supports non-profit organizations that promote women’s and children’s well-being and health. The support comes in the form of gift cards and product donations. Additionally, The Container Store provides storage and organization makeovers for non-profit facilities. This foundation also has a unique giving program in that every time a new store opens, the new store will donate 10% of all sales during its grand opening weekend to a local non-profit partner. Donation requests are accepted throughout the year from non-profits throughout the United States.

Best Buy Foundation

The Best Buy Foundation wants to ensure all teens have access to technology and opportunities to develop technology skills. In 2014, Best Buy donated $2 million in community grants to local and regional non-profit organizations to meet those goals. The average grant amount is $5,000, and grants will not exceed $10,000. Eligible organizations must be within 50 miles of a Best Buy store. This year grants were accepted in June, so plan ahead for 2015’s grant cycle.  


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Top Funding Sources and Strategies for Native American Grants


Many foundations place a priority on grants for special populations, for example, grants for at-risk youth, grants for older people, grants for traditionally under-represented groups, and more.  Over the next few months we’ll present occasional blog articles with strategies for successful grant proposals and leading agencies who fund grants for various special populations.  This article focuses on funding opportunities for Native American populations.

A fundamental strategy for successful proposal development is to align and prioritize yourNative American Funding programs, and your requests to support them, with the priorities of the funding organization(s).  In our research, we have identified three areas that currently receive a lot of dollars in grant funding specifically for Native American populations: 1) housing, 2) education, and 3) health care. If you are looking for grants for American Indians and tribal authorities, you might want to focus on these areas first.

1) Native American Housing Grants

Some housing grants cover more than just building houses, extending to building entire communities and all that they entail.  There are several agencies that help fund these types of grants.  Here are some examples:

  • The Indian Community Development Block Grant (ICDBG) program, supported by the U.S. Housing and Urban Development agency, will help fund a range of projects, from new construction to economic growth programs, but is primarily focused on helping people of moderate to low incomes. Therefore, consider how best to set up your project in order to most appeal to the grant’s criteria.

  • The Indian Housing Block Grant (IHBG) program, enabled by the Native American Housing Assistance and Self Determination Act of 1996 and provided by the U.S. Housing and Urban Development agency, is a formula grant.  (Before applying for any grant, you should know what type is being offered.Formula grants are awarded to tribal organizations through the state, and not just anyone can apply for them.  In addition, this program asks recipients to “submit an Indian Housing Plan, as well as an annual Performance Report on the progress of the funded project, each year to HUD.”  It’s important to keep records in a central location, not only for a specific grant but in general, to support multiple information needs over time.  Information should be systematically collected and stored so that, regardless of changes in leadership, the information is readily available whenever it’s needed, as it would be with the IHBG program. 

2) Education Grants for Native Americans

The sheer number of grants available for education is astounding.  That being said, landing the right grants for your organization’s needs is not so easy.  Although many grants are specific to post-secondary education, some are available for primary and secondary educational programs as well. 

  • One such education grant would be the NB3 Foundation grant, which is concerned with building leadership through sports while helping to fight type 2 diabetes by keeping kids active.  This grant, funded through the Notah Begay III Foundation, is interested in supporting the healthy growth of Native children through building healthier communities.  Among other accomplishments, the NB3 Foundations boasts that “from July 2012 through June 2013, NB3F served more than 4,600 Native American children and families in four states with NB3F programming.”

  • Another grant opportunity, the Indian Land Tenure Foundation - Head Start and K-12 Curriculum Implementation Grants program, is currently accepting letters of interest until December 15th for schools interested in implementing the Foundation’s Lessons of Our Land in one of more classrooms.  The U.S. Department of Education offers Native American schools grants for both school preparedness with preschoolers, and college preparedness programs.  Knowing the specific criteria of the grant is paramount in developing your proposal.  When looking for Native American grant programs, keep in mind the specific goals of your organization, but be flexible with how you approach these goals. 

3) Native American Health Care Grants

In addition to grants for professions in the medical field, grants are available for a range of health-related services.  Most are very specific, e.g. mental health, substance abuse, suicide prevention, childhood obesity, and so on.  Applying for the right grant is key to being awarded the cash.   

  • ANA (Administration for Native Americans), working through The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, has announced grants for Native Americans wishing to go into the health care field.  Information for 2015 grants will be posted March 1st and applications will be accepted through April 2015.  This is only one of the many grants offered through this program.

  • The American Heart Association offers several types of grants through its “Voices for Healthy Kids” initiative.  This program, working jointly with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, works to help all kids eat healthier foods and be more active.  Applications are available now on their website.  At times, working with other community groups and creating relationships with other organizations might help to make your application more viable to an agency.

Summary of Tips for Successful Grants

Here are a few tips and suggestions as a summary from the information above:

1. Consider how best to set up your project in order to most appeal to the grant’s selection criteria.

2. Keep records in a central location to support multiple information needs over time.  Information should be systematically collected and stored so that, regardless of changes in staff, the information is readily available whenever it is needed. 

3. Knowing the specific criteria of the grant is paramount in developing your proposal.  When looking for Native American grant programs, keep in mind the specific goals of your organization, but be flexible with how you approach these goals. 

4. Working with other community groups and creating relationships with other organizations might help to make your application more viable to an agency.

5. Often getting started on the task of finding and writing grants can seem overwhelming, but many of these agencies also include a training manual on their website to help.

Overall, knowing what you need and being flexible with your approach will help when initially looking for grant opportunities.  There are agencies working specifically with Native American tribes to improve the lives of all people. has experts who can help you find and secure grants for Native American and other specific populations.  To learn more about how we can help you, please contact us today.


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Grants for Transportation Projects


Google is in the process of developing a car that will drive itself. It’s currently driving around the roads of Mountain View, California. Experts predict autonomous vetransportationhicles will be on the road by 2030. In the meantime, well-established public transportation modes like rail, bus, and bicycles are still a focus for government entities and non-profit organizations alike. Below are some selected grants that can help fund these projects.

Innovative Public Transportation Workforce Development Program (Ladders of Opportunity Initiative)

The deadline is coming quickly for this grant program from the Federal Transit Administration. Applications are due Dec. 23. Grants are made to state and local transit agencies, non-profits, universities, and other projects that enable low income workers to find employment in a public transportation business. Eligible projects provide skills training and other services needed to find employment in the public transportation industry. Grants will range from $200,000-$1 million. There is a minimum 50 percent non-federal match for all funds. Our professionals can handle last-minute advice and grant help if you are interested in this opportunity.

The Rockefeller Foundation

This foundation has five goals for its transportation grant program, including funding research, encouraging a new transportation agenda in the government, promoting philanthropic participation in transportation activities, creating and supporting sustainable transportation options, and building the capacity of states and cities to innovate and adopt best practices. One major program funded by The Rockefeller Foundation is the Bus Rapid Transit, a public transportation system that delivers the permanence, speed, and reliability of rail systems, along with the flexibility of bus systems, for a fraction of the cost.  The Foundation accepts inquires for grants only through its online inquiry system.

Surdna Foundation

This foundation supports programs that aim to make transportation systems more sustainable. The goal is to give people across the U.S. affordable and reliable public transit options while also minimizing the impact that transportation has on the environment and maximizing economic opportunities. Non-profit organizations located in the United States are eligible for this program. Letters of inquiry are accepted at any time.


Not all transportation grants have to be major transit initiatives. The PeopleforBikes Community Grant Program supports bicycle infrastructure projects and advocacy programs. Non-profit organizations, city and county governments or departments, and state and federal agencies working locally are eligible to apply. Most funds are focused on projects such as bike paths, mountain bike facilities, bike parks, BMX facilities, bike racks, bike storage, and well as bike parking. Certain advocacy projects are also funded. PeopleForBikes will fund engineering and design work, construction costs including materials, labor, equipment rental, and reasonable volunteer support costs. For advocacy projects, they will fund staffing that is directly related to accomplishing the goals of the initiative. The maximum grant award is $10,000. There will be two grant cycles in 2015. The spring application period will begin on Dec. 15 with online letters of interest due by Jan. 30. The fall period will open on June 15 with letters of intent due on July 31.

William and Flora Hewlett Foundation

Organizations applying for a transportation-based grant from this foundation will need to have a project based on reducing greenhouse gases and pollution. Specifically, the Foundation awards grants to projects that help increase fuel efficiency and access to transit, biking, and walking options. Letters of Inquiry are accepted on an ongoing basis. Grants awarded so far this year have ranged from $15,000-$3 million.


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Three Top-Funding Foundations and Sectors in the United States


Out of the $316.2 billion of private giving in the United States in 2012 (latest year for which real numbers are available), 16% came from foundations. (72% wmoneyas from individuals). Grants from foundations are a major source of funds that support impact-making organizations in the United States. These numbers are according to a report, “Key Facts on U.S. Foundations,” released by the Foundation Center in New York City.  

Foundations paid out an estimated record $54.7 billion in 2013, an increase of $2.7 billion compared to 2012’s record $52 billion. While some endowments and corporation foundations are still recovering from the recession in 2008, the report shows that foundation giving is on the upswing.  

Below are some key facts from the report, including the three most funded areas as well as the three largest funders. Knowing this information can be important when developing a non-profit organization, creating programming, or seeking major funders.

Three most funded areas  

1a) Funding for Health

Keeping people healthy and getting people healthy tied for the most funded area in 2012. Just over $5 million in foundation grants were awarded. Grants in this category included a wide variety of topics, for example, ensuring all people have access to healthcare, teaching people how to make healthy decisions, and researching new technologies.

One example of a foundation with an impact on the healthcare field is The Commonwealth Fund. Letters of Inquiry (LOI) are accepted from non-profit organizations whose goals align with the foundation’s mission of achieving a healthcare system with better access, higher quality, and greater efficiency for society’s most vulnerable people.  

1b) Funding for Education

Whether it’s grants for STEM, grants for STEAM, grants for playgrounds, or grants for other educational purposes, education is a well-funded category by foundations. Like healthcare, education initiatives received over $5 million in grant funding. Education grants run the gamut of possibilities--funding in-classroom programs, before and after-school activities, school security needs, new technology, and more.

The Wallace Foundation awards grants for school leadership, after school programs, summer and extended learning time programs, arts education, and audience development for the arts. The foundation does accept Letters of Inquiry through its website.  

2) Funding for Human Services

Some of the most basic human needs fall under this category of grants. Human services received 16% of the grant money from foundations, a total of $3.5 billion. This category also had the highest number of overall grants with over 42,000 individual grants awarded. Grants in this category fund housing, mental health, disability programs, access to healthy food, and more.

The Kresge Foundation supports the human services sector through non-profit organizations and government entities. Applications are accepted at any time.  

Rounding out the list of the amount of grant money by issue is: public affairs/society benefit ($2.7 billion), arts and culture ($2.2 billion), environment and animals ($1.6 billion), international affairs ($1.1 billion), science and technology ($606 million), religion ($468 million), and social sciences ($243 million).

Top three foundations by giving  

1) Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

The Microsoft mogul and his wife awarded $3.2 billion in grants in 2012, with $2.6 billion of that figure awarded to entities outside the U.S. The foundation supports organizations in all 50 states as well as 100 countries worldwide. In the United States, the organization makes grants in seven different areas: college-ready education, scientific research, emergency response services, financial services for the poor, giving Internet access to those without, and postsecondary education. Additionally, this foundation has a special focus on helping children in Washington State.  Currently, the Gates Foundation has four different Request For Proposals (RFPs) with varying deadlines. All four RFPs will fund organizations working in health and development needs for those in poverty.  

2) Ford Foundation

There is quite a large gap between the monetary giving of the first and second most giving foundations. Coming in at number two is the Ford Foundation, which awarded $593 million in grants in 2012. The Ford Foundation focuses on eight issues in its grant making: democratic and accountable government, economic fairness, educational opportunity, freedom of expression, gender, sexuality, and reproductive justice, human rights, metropolitan opportunity, and sustainable development. The Ford Foundation accepts grant applications year round.    

3) Walton Family Foundation

The retail giant’s family doled out $423 million in grant money in 2012. The main areas of giving are K-12 education reform, freshwater and marine conservation, and quality of life initiatives in the foundation’s home region of northwest Arkansas and the Delta Region of Arkansas and Mississippi. The Walton Family Foundation does not accept unsolicited grant proposals, so accessing this money requires histories and contacts.  

Fun facts:

  • The single largest grant awarded in 2012 totaled $207.7 million. The Gates Foundation awarded that amount to the Global TB Vaccine Foundation.

  • The median grant amount awarded by foundations was $30,000.

  • Fifty-two percent of grant funds went toward program support, while just 23% went to general support. Seventeen percent of funds were for unspecified uses followed closely by 16% to research. Only 10% of funds helped with capital costs.

  • California-based organizations received the most domestic foundation grant dollars, totaling $2.4 billion.

  • By geography, organizations in the northeast were the recipients of the most grant dollars, followed by entities in the south, west, and Midwest. 

  • More than one quarter of the nation’s foundations (23,155) are located in the south. 


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Grants for Technology in Schools


I have a good friend who teaches English, specifically literature, to high school students. Not being current in English teaching techniques, I mentioned to her techthat I thought it would prove difficult to bring technology into her classroom since the basis of her teaching is hard-bound books. I was wrong. Her school has received several grants for technology, one of which was used to purchase iPads for all sophomore students. No longer do students read the classics she is teaching only on a hard-bound book, but now also on an iPad. The students also use the iPad to write and submit homework assignments. And in her classroom, my friend uses a SMART Board for interactive teachings, another item that was purchased through a technology grant for schools.  

This is only one example of what your school could do with grants for technology. Below is a list of hand-picked grants for school technology as well as other resources that will aid in bringing technology to your school.

Association of American Educators Foundation
Grants up to $500 are available to full-time educators from the Association of American Educators Foundation. Classroom grants can be used for a variety of uses including software, iPads, SMART Boards, and other technology needs. Funds must be used within one year of the application deadline. Application deadlines are March 1 and Oct. 1 every year. Applicants must not have received a grant from this foundation in the previous three grant cycles. Members of the AAE receive weighted scoring on their application.  

National Education Association (NEA)

Student Achievement Grants from NEA can be used to fund technology needs in classrooms. Projects that engage students in critical thinking and problem solving will be favored.  K-12 public school teachers, education support professionals, and higher education faculty/staff at public colleges and universities are eligible to apply. Deadlines are Feb. 1, June 1, and Oct. 15 every year. Grant amounts are $2,000 and $5,000. The Foundation has awarded more than $7.1 million to fund nearly 4,500 grants to public school educators over the past 10 years.


The Foundation for Technology and Engineering Educators (FTEE) wants to encourage technology and engineering teachers to participate in professional development. A $1,000 Greer/FTEE Grant is available to help offset the costs of attending the International Technology and Engineering Educators Association (ITEEA) Conference. Each applicant must be a member of the ITEEA and teach engineering or technology to students in grades 6-12. Applications are due Dec. 1.

Other Resources is an online tool for educators to help solve technology shortages in their classrooms. This company provides online tools, tips, and resources to help ensure every student has access to technology. Since August 2009, Digital Wish has granted over 24,000 classroom technology wishes and delivered over $10 million in technology products to American classrooms. This website also offers small grants, usually software or programs, to teachers. For instance, is currently giving away one Clip Art Station Site License. Teachers should apply before Nov. 30 by submitting a curriculum-based lesson plan that incorporates the usage of digital images or audio.  

If your school is in need of computers, the Computers for Learning program could be helpful. This program encourages government agencies to transfer surplus computers and associated accessories to schools and educational non-profit organizations. As federal agencies upgrade their computer systems, the replaced equipment becomes available. All available equipment is entered into an online database from which school officials can search for items in their geographical area. A detailed registration form needs to be completed before a school can search for items. All private, public, and parochial schools serving Pre-K through 12th grade students are eligible. Day cares with a state-approved preschool curriculum and non-profit educational organizations are also eligible. Entities who choose to receive a computer or accessories need only pay for shipping and handling, not the equipment itself.  

STEM Mobile Labs is a FREE mobile app for students and educators alike. Developed by The Wireless Foundation and curriculum specialists Young Minds Inspired, this app is designed to give students in grades 8th-12th grades unique learning opportunities in the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM).  Students, or teachers, could use the app to conduct real-world or virtual experiments or t o do scientific research.


Photo Credit: Mervi Eskelinen reserves the right to delete any comments that do not contribute useful questions or information, are direct advertisements, or are otherwise inappropriate.

Grants for Public Safety


There is often more than one organization responsible for providing public spublic safetyafety to a municipality. Fire departments, EMS, police departments, non-profit organizations, and emergency management agencies all work together to provide life-saving and critically important services to communities. All of these agencies, and others, require a budget allocation to provide these important public safety services. To help fund training, equipment purchases, and education related to public safety we have compiled a list of selected public safety grants.

FY2014 Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG)

This FEMA grant program is the largest fire grant program in the United States with over $300 million available for funding this year. AFG awards financial support to fire departments, EMS organizations, and State Fire Training Academies (SFTAs). Three different public safety areas are eligible for consideration: operations and safety, vehicle acquisition, and joint/regional. The joint/regional category includes mass disaster training and partnerships between agencies. New this year is the requirement that vehicles purchased must be new, not used. Applications are due Friday, Dec. 5. An estimated 2,700 grants will be awarded this year.

National Rifle Association (NRA) Foundation

Police departments, safety organizations, and non-profit organizations are eligible to apply for grants from the NRA Foundation. There are two grant categories. General grants must promote, advance, and encourage firearms and hunting safety, or they must educate people, especially youth, about firearms. For example, public safety organizations could use this grant to have a firearms education course for youth or adults. For police departments who operate their own shooting range, look at the Foundation’s Shooting Range Grants as well. These grants can be used for permanent improvements to facilities, including construction projects, road improvements, berm work, and even permanently installed trap machines. Deadlines vary by state fund committee. Check the website for specific deadlines.

Firehouse Subs Public Safety

We have written about this grant previously. With a Dec. 15 grant deadline it is worth bringing up again at this time. First responder and public safety organizations with Firehouse Subs locations in their service area are eligible for this program. Five areas are eligible for funding: life-saving equipment, prevention education, scholarships and continued education, support for military members, and disaster preparedness and disaster relief. If you miss the Dec. 15 deadline, applications are also accepted March 15, June 15, and Sept. 15.

Digital Voice Stress Analysis Grant Program

Law enforcement agencies in the United States can receive FREE Digital Voice Stress Analyzer software, a $10,000 value, from the manufacturer. One hundred grants are available. This software is a computerized voice analysis software for detection of deception and credibility assessment. Examiner training tuition ($1,500) and annual recertification ($300) are associated costs if you receive the free software.

National Firefighters Endowment Equipment Grant

Grants for $5000 - $6,000 are available from this endowment for purchase of fire department equipment. Eligible equipment includes turnout gear, personal escape kits, helmets, hand-held power lights, communication devices, telephones, personal alert safety systems, air packs, tanks, and more. Equipment must improve the ability to provide life-saving services or to protect the lives of firefighters. A unique component of this program is that to apply, fire departments must submit a video, rather than a written application, explaining their need. There is a rolling deadline for this program.


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