History of the Grant

By April 2013, the Board had awarded more than 2,000 grants approximating$106,000,000 since its inception in 1957. It should be noted that no attempt has been made to emphasize any particular aspect of the independent secondary school.

The Board has been open to the variety of needs and priorities presented to it by schools. It has supported many areas including buildings, other physical facilities, curriculum, endowment, faculty and scholarships as well as special programs pertaining to libraries, the environment, annual giving, technology, and minority students. Just as it has been open in this respect, it has not favored any particular type of school.


Over the years the Foundation has made many grants in support of endowment. There is no question of the importance of a strong and growing endowment to the health of a school, but the Board intends to concentrate its efforts going forward on grants for direct application to program initiatives in support of faculty, students or development of the educational program. Some endowment grants may be made to spur endowment giving in schools that are young or without a meaningful endowment, but for schools with established endowments such grants would only be considered if leveraged significantly by matching funds. Schools with endowments of $20,000 or more per student are advised to seek funding for other needs.

In the early years, grants of more than two million dollars were made to thirty-three different organizations interested in and promoting private education. Scholarships, teacher intern programs, alcohol and drug education, trustee seminars, summer workshops, minority affairs and career resources are typical examples. Apart from a program of grants to State and Regional Member Associations of the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS), such grants are now made only as rare exceptions to the policy of giving to independent secondary schools holding full membership in the NAIS. All grants to schools have a matching component (at least one-to-one). Scholarships, teacher intern programs, trustee seminars, summer workshops, and faculty development are typical examples of grants made in the recent years.

In June of 2008 the Board awarded five matching grants of $250,000 to schools invited to compete for its newest program, The Edward E. Ford Educational Leadership initiative. By April 2011 a total of sixteen such awards had been made. These programs must: be generative; be transformational; be replicable; include partnerships; and address the question, “What is the public purpose of private education?”