There are hundreds of foundations that give grants to non-profit organizations. Many foundations are supported through the generous funding of one or two individuals and award grants to organizations with lofty missions like education, animal rights, and environmental conservation. The best way to find out about grant giving foundations that may be interested in supporting your cause is to visit the Foundation Center or access its database.
The following foundations give hundreds of thousands of dollars every year to support missions that help make society a better place. Notable both for their names and monetary contributions, these are a sampling of the types of foundations that provide grants to non-profits.
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
The largest private foundation giving grants in the United States is the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. This private foundation operated by Bill and Melinda Gates gives grant funding in the areas of education, health, global development and global health.
The Ford Foundation
Henry Ford's legacy focuses on awarding funds to organizations that are developing new ideas. In addition, grants focus on strengthening organizations that reduce poverty and injustice and promoting democratic values, international cooperation and human achievement.
Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, funds seven program areas all of which are focused primarily on improving health care for the general population. Their funding reaches both programs that offer innovative solutions to health care problems as well as programs to help the underserved.
Glasser Family Foundation
The Glasser foundation gives grants in only four areas that are rather diverse in scope. They give grants to:
- Research how human progress is measured
- Deal with the HIV/AIDS pandemic
- Animal advocacy
- Ensure diversity in media voice
It should be noted that the foundation does not review or consider proposals for the HIV/AIDS initiative.
Andrew W. Mellon Foundation
The Andrew Mellon foundation makes grants in six program areas including higher education and scholarship, scholarly communications, research in information technology, museums and art conservation, performing arts and conservation.
The Streisand Foundation
Started by Barbara Streisand, this foundation focuses on environmental issues, women's advocacy, civil liberties, civil rights and various causes such as AIDS and disadvantaged children.
Ben and Jerry's Foundation
Ben and Jerry do more than make ice cream. The Ben & Jerry Foundation is committed to justice and social change through grant giving to grassroots organizations and their generous employee matching gift program. They also give grants to Vermont initiatives.
W.K. Kellogg Foundation
The Kellogg Foundation supports programs that educate children, promote healthy children and secure families as well as those that support racial equity and civic engagement.
Established in 1913, the Rockefeller foundation is one of the oldest foundations on the list. They focus on projects that deal with urbanization, survival protection, global health, climate/environment, and social economic security.
The Kresge Foundation focuses on low-income individuals and providing them with various types of assistance in changing their lives. This will include arts/culture, community development, education, environment, and healthy human services.
Richard King Mellon Foundation
Created in 1947, by Richard Mellon has assets valued at more than 1.9 billion dollars. They focus on projects based in the Southwestern Pennsylvania area. Funding interests include economic development, conservation, and human services.
The Heinz Endowment
Run by Howard and Vira Heinz, this is another private foundation that focuses their awards mainly on projects that originate in the Southwestern Pennsylvania area. However, they will occasionally fund those that fall outside the area as well. The endowment focuses on areas such as arts/culture, children, youth and families, commercial/economic development, education, and the environment.
The Bush Foundation
Started in1953 by Archibald and Edyth Bush, this foundation focuses mainly on states like North Dakota, South Dakota, and the 23 Native American nations that are located within the Dakotas. The Bush Foundation focuses on projects that inspire creative leadership ideas, education, and that focus on the Native American community.
Whether you are an established nonprofit or a newbie seeking grant funding to support your goals of making a change in the lives of others, consider utilizing a private foundation as your source. Take the time to develop your idea thoroughly, and play close attention to the requirements and guidelines of private foundations, so you can be as efficient as possible in your search.