UPS Foundation: Grants for Higher Education

OVERVIEW: The philanthropic arm of UPS supports higher education through direct grants to higher education institutions, scholarship organizations, and nonprofits, and on a smaller scale, through scholarships for the children of its employees.

IP TAKE: UPS Foundation does not accept unsolicited proposals; however, organizations for which UPS employees volunteer may become eligible for grant funding after the employee has served a certain number of hours.

PROFILE: The UPS Foundation, established in 1951 by UPS founder Jim Casey, seeks “to help build stronger and more resilient communities around the world.” For UPS, “giving means more than writing a check” and emphasizes employee volunteerism as well as providing “logistics expertise, transportation assets and charitable donations.” In total, the foundation boasts worldwide contributions of more than $100 million in a recent year. UPS funds diversity and inclusion, employee volunteerism, community safety, and environmental sustainability.

The foundation conducts most of its higher education-related funding through its Diversity & Inclusion program. It seeks to create “opportunities for under-represented communities,” including a sub-concentration on supporting “organizations focused on enhancing opportunities for higher education.” Past grantees have been supported by college and university scholarships and fellowships. Past grantees include the “American Indian College Fund, Brigham Young University, Clark Atlanta University, Council of Independent Colleges, Hispanic Scholarship Fund, Morehouse College, Spelman College, the United Negro College Fund.” UPS has also funded various university chairships and professorships at higher education institutions such as the University of Pennsylvania, the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, NJ, Harvard Business School, USC, and more.

On a more exclusive level, UPS Foundation also offers modest post-secondary scholarships for the children of its employees. In that vein, its five-decade-old International James E. Casey Scholarship Program “provide[s] merit-based scholarships to the children of UPS employees planning to attend a four-year college,” originally only in the United States but now accessible “in 72 countries across the globe” and “based on academic accomplishments, extracurricular activities, community involvement and an applicant appraisal.” According to the foundation, “more than 3,800 students have received a Casey Scholarship.”

Grants range from a few thousand to tens of thousands. UPS Foundation does not have a publicly available grants database, and does not accept unsolicited proposals. In terms of large-scale funding, the foundation selects “preeminent organizations within our focus areas” and “does not accept or respond to unsolicited grant proposals.” Another route to funding, however, is through “a recommendation made by a UPS employee who is actively volunteering with the agency.” More specifically, “[a]n organization becomes eligible for [local community grant] funding after UPSers invest 50 hours or more of community service towards its programs.”


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