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Higher Education Funding & Grant Resources

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In this post, I’ll share funding and grant resources for nonprofits involved in the education sector. Similar to the funders in my previous post on education, the organizations listed below focus their efforts on activities inside and outside of the classroom. Their priorities range from facilitating book donation drives to supporting arts education to funding playground construction and family literacy programs. 

Grant writing tip: While the task of writing a proposal often falls on the shoulders of a project manager or grant writer, anyone—even an outside consultant—with the proper skills could write the proposal. What is most important is that whoever writes the grant fully understands the project and the organization and how to present both to the funders. 

Visit Grantli to learn more about how I do my grant research and writing and how your organization can find even more funders and funding opportunities.

Funding Priority: Education

The Awesome Foundation

The Awesome Foundation is a global community advancing the interest of “awesome in the universe,” mostly through providing $1,000 micro-grants. These are given on a no-strings-attached basis to people and groups working on “awesome projects.” 

Areas served: Worldwide

New Earth Foundation

New Earth Foundation “seeks to fund innovative projects that enhance life on our planet and brighten the future, furthering peace.” 

They focus on supporting smaller and newer 501(c)(3) organizations so that the foundation’s gift can make a more significant contribution to the work of the recipient organization. They award grants for educational innovations that prepare youth to become the socially responsible leaders of the future.

Areas served: Worldwide

Cornell Douglas Foundation

The Cornell Douglas Foundation honors nonprofit organizations that “recognize critical needs of communities, seek to minimize risks to the natural world, and believe that each generation should feel a sense of pride in how they hand the baton of environmental health and well-being to future generations.” 

They focus funding on organizations that work on financial literacy for elementary and high school students (established programs only).

Areas served: Worldwide

International Game Technology

The After School Advantage (ASA) program is IGT’s flagship community initiative, devoted to providing young people with access to technology in a safe, nurturing after school environment while also promoting opportunities in digital learning centers in communities where the company operates.

Areas served: Worldwide (communities where IGT operates)

Costco Wholesale

Costco Wholesale’s “primary charitable efforts specifically focus on programs supporting children, education, and health and human services in the communities where we do business.”

Areas served: Worldwide (communities with a Costco)

Boeing Company Charitable Trust

Boeing seeks “to improve kindergarten readiness—particularly in mathematics—to generate interest and sustained participation in STEM disciplines through hands-on, experiential learning. Our goal is to graduate more students who are ready to enter aerospace and advanced manufacturing careers and STEM-focused post-secondary education.” 

They support organizations that are leaders in what they do, demonstrate innovation, and align and collaborate with others to achieve workable solutions to community issues.

Areas served: Worldwide

W.K. Kellogg Foundation

The W.K. Kellogg Foundation supports children, families, and communities as they strengthen and create conditions that propel vulnerable children to achieve success as individuals and as contributors to the larger community and society. 

They accept applications at any time. There are no deadlines or specific grantmaking cycles.

Areas served: Mexico, Haiti, US (priority: Michigan, Mississippi, New Mexico, New Orleans)

Whole Kids Foundation

Whole Foods Market’s Whole Kids Foundation’s “primary programs like salad bar and school gardens grants and healthy teacher trainings expand access to healthy food choices, connect kids to the root of their food, and empower educators. These opportunities are the first steps towards meaningful school food transformations, which will grow a healthier generation.”

Areas served: US

Emeril Lagasse Foundation

The Emeril Lagasse Foundation provides grants related to nutrition and culinary education, life skills development, childhood hunger, and arts education. The Foundation’s mission is to create opportunities to inspire, mentor, and enable youth to reach their full potential through culinary, nutrition, and arts education.

Areas served: US

The Barney Family Foundation

The Barney Family Foundation “want(s) to be convinced that a project [they] fund will lead, over time, to significant improvement in children’s life experiences and as such, favor proposals that describe a plausible and practical chain of events leading to tangible results for children.” 

Their funding priorities are early education and health research.

Areas served: US

Change Happens Foundation

The Change Happens Foundation seeks to fund innovative applicants and ideas with proven, high-level impact across three main areas: science, the environment, and education. 

Areas served: US

Guitar Center

The Guitar Center “makes the gift of music available to people across the country by providing resources for music education programs. Our grants are awarded to schools, local music programs, and national music programs.”

Areas served: US

The Harry Chapin Foundation

The mission of the Harry Chapin Foundation is to support organizations that have demonstrated their ability to dramatically improve the lives and livelihood of people by helping them to become self-sufficient. The foundation focuses its grant making on community education programs, arts-in-education programs, and agricultural and environmental programs.

Areas served: US

Johnson Scholarship Foundation

The Johnson Scholarship Foundation makes grants through selected institutions that achieve its mission of assisting disadvantaged people to obtain education in order to become more independent and participate more fully in society. The foundation funds scholarships and other education programs that serve people in need of financial support.

Areas served: US

Ronald W. Burkle Foundation

The Ronald W. Burkle Foundation makes grants to programs that engage children in learning, advance scientific research, strengthen international understanding, foster worker’s rights, empower underserved communities, and nurture the arts and architecture.

Areas served: US

The Lisa Libraries

The Lisa Libraries donates new children’s books and small libraries to organizations that work with children in low-income or underserved areas. If your organization needs a small library, needs to rebuild or add to a library, or serves children who would benefit by being given new books to take home, see if you qualify for donations.

Areas served: US

First Book

First Book is a nonprofit social enterprise that provides new books and educational resources—for free and at low cost—to schools and programs serving children in need.

Areas served: US


KaBoom! supports organizations that build playgrounds for children and youth to ensure they have the opportunity to lead an active and healthy lifestyle. Plan, design, and build a new community playground, multi-sport court, or adventure course by working with KaBoom! and their partners. 

Check to see if your community is one of their target cities.

Area served: US (specific cities)


Digitunity is working to ensure everyone who needs a computer has one. 

Register your qualifying organization to receive technology donations.

Areas served: US

Webb Family Foundation

The Webb Family Foundation supports programs and projects that target underserved children and youth and provides grants related to education, youth development, career and workforce readiness, financial literacy, entrepreneurship, STEM, digital and blended learning, and youth mentorship. 

Areas served: US

The Victor C. Clark Youth Incentive Program

The Victor C. Clark Youth Incentive Program supports programs and projects for youth that enrich the experience of radio amateurs under the age of 18. Mini-grants are made for the following types of projects: securing equipment for antennas for club stations, purchasing training materials, and local service projects that bring favorable public exposure.

Areas served: US

Bruce J. Heim Foundation

The Bruce J. Heim Foundation strives to help young people with the potential for excellence in an area of interest. The foundation makes grants to organizations that help young people improve and develop their talents. Scholarships and funding are dedicated to a number of projects including university programs, independent secondary schools, and other institutions. 

Areas served: US

Educational Assistance and Training Programs

The Cruise Industry Charitable Foundation (CICF) encourages the creation and expansion of learning experiences and opportunities at the primary, secondary, and higher education levels, particularly for minority and disadvantaged students. 

Areas of special interest to the foundation include educational and training programs designed to improve literacy, teach basic life skills, promote good citizenship and public services, and increase reading, mathematics, and science proficiencies. Cruise port communities are given preference.

Areas served: US

Wish You Well Foundation

The mission of the Wish You Well Foundation is to support adult and family literacy in the United States by fostering new and promoting existing adult literacy and educational programs. Most requests range from $200 to $10,000. 

Areas served: US

Brown Rudnick Center for the Public Interest

The Brown Rudnick Center Community Grant Program believes those working on the front lines of the educational system have unique insight into small but significant needs or innovations that are often overlooked and which, when addressed, make a truly positive difference to the community served. 

Areas served: Boston, Hartford, New York City, Providence, Washington, D.C.

Mazda Foundation

The Mazda Foundation “connects Mazda and its employees to the communities in which they live and work by collaborating with, and supporting, innovative local organizations whose integrity and contributions inspire us by making each community a better place to live.” 

They award grants to education and literacy programs as well as a few other categories.

Areas served: Irvine, CA; Bridgewater, N.J; Oakbrook Terrace, IL; Houston, TX; and Huntsville, AL

The Brown Foundation, Inc.

The Brown Foundation, Inc. supports charitable purposes that encourage and assist programs and projects in education, arts and humanities, health and human services, and community service. 

In the area of education, funding is focused on the primary and secondary school levels. They prioritize initiatives that support nontraditional and innovative approaches designed to improve public education within Texas.

Also of interest to the foundation are community service projects serving the needs of children and families. Deadlines are rolling.

Areas served: Houston/Texas

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