When searching for grant opportunities, it is easy to focus on federal, state, and local government funding. However, do not overlook the numerous grant-making foundations that fund a variety of different projects from healthcare to environmental to creative programs and projects. Below, we have compiled a list of 10 United States grant-making foundations that have made the favorites list of several leading foundation experts.
We hope by putting this information in one place you will have better starting points for your grant application journey. As you might expect, obtaining funds from foundations is becoming more competitive all the time. We can help partner you with the right foundation and help better your chances for receiving the grant you seek. If you are interested in strategies for approaching any foundation, be it one of the top funders found below or any of the thousands of others, please contact us today.
10 Favorite Grant-Making Foundations
1. In 2011 The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation awarded $3.4 billion in grant payments throughout the United States and internationally. The foundation focuses on four main areas in the United States: funding college and graduate school scholarships, assisting local libraries with computer and Internet needs, supporting Pacific Northwest community organizations, and exploring special initiatives throughout the United States including relief efforts and innovative community organizations. The foundation is currently seeking proposals for a literacy courseware challenge, with a deadline of March 29.
2. The Walton Family Foundation, which gave out $432 million in 2012, focuses on making a positive impact in three areas: K-12 education reform, freshwater and marine conservation, and quality of life initiatives in their home region (delta region of Arkansas and Mississippi).
3. Eli Lilly and Company Foundation focuses on programs and organizations that promote and strengthen public education. Their main focus is to improve student performance in science as well as improve educational outcomes for underserved students. They currently do not accept unsolicited grant applications.
4. The MacArthur Foundation, which awarded 497 grants in 2011, is one of the nation’s largest independent foundations, and it funds projects and programs in the United States related to community and economic development, juvenile justice reform, housing, and education. The Foundation also supports public interest media as well as arts and cultural institutions in the Chicagoland area.
5. It is said that it takes a village to raise a child, and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation truly believes that statement. This Foundation funds programs and partners that support a “whole child approach,” ensuring the emotional, social, cognitive, physical, cultural, and civic development of young children, ages 0-8. Grant applications are accepted throughout the year.
6. In 2011, The Walmart Foundation gave $872.7 million in cash and in-kind gifts in the United States. The core areas of focus are: Hunger Relief & Healthy Eating, Sustainability, Women's Economic Empowerment, and Career Opportunity. The Walmart Foundation awards grants through local, state, and national giving programs; deadlines vary depending on the program.
7. For more than 45 years, The David and Lucile Packard Foundation has worked with partners around the world to improve the lives of children, families, and communities. The Foundation focuses on preschool, after-school, and summer enrichment programs as well as access to children’s health insurance.
8. The Kresge Foundation is a $3.1 billion private, national foundation. There are seven defined programs – arts and culture, community development, the City of Detroit, education, environment, health, and human services. Available grants can be accessed here.
9. The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust, with assets of over $4 billion, seeks to support organizations focused on the needs of children and adults living in poverty throughout the United States. The trust is also now funding K-12 education programs throughout the nation that seek to increase the number of college-bound students in the United States.
10. The Duke Endowment, which has awarded over $2.9 billion in grant money since its inception in 1924, has four main focuses. These include: child care, health care, higher education, and rural church needs.
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