Hearst Foundations: Grants for Higher Education

OVERVIEW: Established by media mogul William Randolph Hearst, the Hearst Foundations fund well-established nonprofits that operate in culture, education, health, and social service. Hearst also has two signature programs in journalism and government that provide students with college scholarships.

IP TAKE: The foundations offer program, scholarship, capital and, on a limited basis, general and endowment support. 

PROFILE: The goal of the Hearst Foundations, inspired by newspaper magnate and founder William Randolph Hearst, is to “ensure that people of all backgrounds have the opportunity to build healthy, productive and inspiring lives.” William Randolph Hearst established an East Coast foundation in 1945 and a West Coast foundation in 1948. The foundation funds culture, education, health, and social service.

Hearst’s education program looks for “educational institutions demonstrating uncommon success in preparing students to thrive in a global society” and which is focused “largely on higher education.” When selecting education grantees, Hearst primarily gives “[p]rogram, scholarship, capital and, on a limited basis, general and endowment support,” and looks mainly to fund “[h]igher education programs and scholarships and, on a limited basis, scholarships for post-graduate education” as well as “[p]rofessional development for teachers.” According to the foundation, about 30% of its annual funding broadly supports education, but it is unclear how much funding supports higher education specifically.

The foundation makes further grants to higher education through its signature Journalism Awards program, which offers up to $500,000 to students for “outstanding performance in college-level journalism, with matching grants to the students’ schools.” Journalism awards are restricted to undergrads majoring in journalism (the only exception being the photojournalism competition).

Grants range from $75,000 to $150,000. More information may be found by searching the foundation’s grants database. Hearst only funds organizations with annual operating budgets of at least $1 million, with 80% of education and health grantees having budgets of $10 million or higher. In addition, 80% of its awards fund past grantees, crowding out first-time grantseekers.

Applications for endowments and program funding start with an eligibility quiz before the foundation will ask for more detailed information. Organizations whose requests are denied must wait a year before reapplying, and those who are approved are locked out for three years.


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