American Express Corporate Responsibility Grants

American Express Foundation


Grant amount: Unspecified amount

Deadline: Rolling

Applicant type: Government Entity Nonprofit

Funding uses: Training / Capacity Building, Applied Project / Program

Location of project: Argentina, Australia, Canada, China, France Expand all

Location of residency: Argentina, Australia, Canada, China, France Expand all

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Overview:

Corporate Responsibility

We provide backing to the communities where our customers and colleagues live and work. It’s good for both our business and our communities to invest financial and human resources in ways that address the social, environmental and economic needs of our communities, customers, colleagues, shareholders and partners. Learn more. 

Visionary nonprofits are always there for their communities. We’re always there for them. We support and volunteer with organizations that:

  • Develop the next generation of leaders
  • Preserve and sustain historic places
  • Encourage community service and civic participation.

Our Strategy & Mission

We’re here to help our customers and their communities thrive. That means putting our service ethic to work enabling communities to prosper, and assisting when a helping hand is needed.

Strong communities enable thriving people and businesses. This shapes our responsibilities as a corporate citizen. Through our philanthropic and community work, we seek to strengthen communities by serving and supporting the people and organizations that are tackling some of society’s toughest challenges.

In 1954, we created the American Express Foundation, a New York-based non-profit that supports charitable organizations. Since then, together with our Foundation, we have provided nearly a billion dollars to thousands of causes around the world.

We focus our charitable giving in three areas:

  • Developing leaders: We help develop emerging leaders who are addressing society's most complex issues.
  • Preserving places: We promote stewardship of the historic places that bring value to local communities and sustain our shared cultural heritage.
  • Serving communities: We enable nonprofit organizations to have a greater impact by engaging community members, including our own colleagues, as volunteers. 

Priority Areas

Developing Leaders

We work hard to attract, develop, and retain top talent to build our leadership pipeline. This commitment to identifying, developing and backing leaders extends to our communities.

For over a decade, we have devoted significant resources to creating and funding programs that strengthen leaders within nonprofit and social purpose organizations working to solve the world's biggest challenges. Since 2008, we have invested nearly $70 million to develop more than 70,000 social purpose leaders who are tackling some of society's most complex issues.

Chances are, there are American Express-trained leaders working in your community — for the causes you care about — right now. 

American Express Leadership Academy

Founded in 2008, the American Express Leadership Academy builds the personal, business and leadership skills of emerging nonprofit leaders and social entrepreneurs through multi-day, in-person trainings. The initiative has grown to a global program, training world-class leaders in the areas of education, the arts, social services, health, the environment, and more. To date, we have hosted 112 Leadership Academy programs across 11 countries, training more than 3,500 nonprofit and social sector leaders.  

Scaling Our Impact Through Digital Learning

We recognize the need to further scale our leadership programs, so in addition to our hands-on and partner-led Leadership Academy programs, we support two online leadership development platforms for social purpose leaders: Leaderosity and + Acumen

Continuing the Leadership Development Journey

Leaders have much to learn from each other and, for true leaders, the learning never ends. Once emerging leaders have completed our programs, we maintain our relationship with them and provide them with resources to build and maintain relationships with each other. We: 

  • Offer ongoing alumni engagement through the American Express Leadership Academy LinkedIn group.
  • Organize an annual American Express Leadership Academy Global Alumni Summit.
  • Support LeaderStories.org, a storytelling platform we created in partnership with SparkAction , for Academy participants and grantees. The platform features stories, resources, tips and leadership insights from innovators and experts. 

Grant Criteria

The kinds of projects we support encourage leadership development for emerging nonprofit and social purpose leaders through one or more of the following:

  • Helping nonprofit organizations create, enhance or sustain leadership development programs for their high potential emerging leaders.
  • Diversifying the current landscape of nonprofit leaders.
  • Transforming organizations through best-in-class management and leadership practices, implementing management principles or expanding an organization's capacity to attract, develop and retain leadership talent.  

Projects we are interested in supporting include:

  • Leadership training by an organization to a wider group of organizations within the same discipline or field.
  • Leadership development of an organization's local members or affiliates.
  • Leadership development of an organization located in key geographic areas.

Preserving Places

American Express has deep roots in the travel services industry, stretching all the way back to World War I. That’s why we feel so connected to historic sites around the world. We understand the cultural and economic value they bring to communities. We are committed to backing the continuing stewardship of these sites to ensure they can be experienced and enjoyed by you and generations to come.  

We support projects that help communities preserve or rediscover major historic landmarks and public spaces, providing sustainable, ongoing access to the public, now and in the future. Our emphasis is on sites that represent diverse cultures and engage the public in unique ways.

Since 1974, we have contributed over $65 million to preserve more than 525 iconic historic sites, from The Temple of Hercules in Rome to the Palace of Fine Arts in Mexico City. 

Saving the World's Most Treasured Places

We are the founding sponsor of World Monuments Watch, which draws attention to cultural heritage sites around the world threatened by neglect, vandalism, armed conflict, commercial development, natural disasters and climate change. In its over 50 years of vital action, World Monuments Fund has orchestrated over 600 projects in 90 countries.

Restoring America's Historic Landmarks and Communities

The National Trust for Historic Preservation is a nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting and restoring America's historic landmarks and communities. More than a decade ago, we joined forces with the National Trust to form Partners in Preservation. This initiative helps preserve historic sites in the United States both directly and by inspiring local citizens to get involved with the historic places at the heart of their communities. 

Since 2006 we have committed more than $20 million to the effort, supporting close to 200 historic sites in San Francisco, Chicago, New Orleans, Boston, Seattle, the Twin Cities, New York and Washington, DC. Even more significant, we have engaged more than a million of you in the effort. Our latest effort was Partners in Preservation: Main Streets, a community-based campaign to raise awareness about the importance of preserving historic sites in America's Main Street districts.

Grant Criteria

Applications for Historic Preservation grants are accepted by invitation only. The projects we support embrace the preservation, restoration or sustainability of historic places and demonstrate their significance to the community through one or more of the following:

  • Restoring historic places to ensure ongoing public access and engagement.
  • Preserving historic places for innovative or adaptive use.
  • Sustaining historic places by creating systems to manage increased visitor activities and environmental impacts.

Serving Communities

Volunteers are the heart and soul of communities. The ability to effectively engage volunteers can make a tremendous difference in nonprofit organizations’ ability to fulfill their mission, expand their work, amplify their profile and grow their base of supporters.

For community members, volunteering is a way to develop skills, practice leadership, build social networks and enjoy a sense of purpose and connection.

We partner with nonprofit organizations to build volunteerism into their business model, focusing on long-term engagement rather than one-off events. One significant way we do this is through Serve2Gether, which brings American Express colleagues into communities.

Disaster Relief

When a natural disaster occurs, it’s all hands on deck: we assist with both immediate and long-term relief and recovery efforts. But we also support preparedness programs that can better equip relief agencies to respond to emergencies as they occur. In the last decade, American Express has helped the victims of more than 30 disasters in 30 countries by aiding leading disaster relief agencies such as the American Red Cross and International Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, Doctors without Borders, International Rescue Committee, Save the Children and the United Nations World Food Program.

Grant Criteria

The projects we support encourage community service and civic participation, delivering measurable outcomes that have a lasting impact on communities through one or more of the following:

  • Building the capacity of nonprofits by assisting them in developing, engaging and retaining community members as volunteers.
  • Engaging community members and American Express colleagues in ongoing service. This may involve a variety of activities from promoting individual philanthropy, volunteerism or participation in local civic organizations.

You can learn more about this opportunity by visiting the funder's website.

Eligibility:

  • Eligible organizations must: 
    • Certify tax-exempt status under Section 501(c)(3) and 509(a)(1), (2) or (3) of the U.S. Internal Revenue Code. Organizations outside the U.S. must be able to document nonprofit status.
    • Not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, genetic information, citizenship, veteran or marital status, or any other basis prohibited by law.
  • Your project will have a better chance of receiving funding if it’s located in one of these geographic areas:
    • United States
      • Greater Phoenix
      • New York City
      • Salt Lake City
      • San Francisco
      • South Florida
      • Washington, D.C.
    • Around the World
      • Argentina
      • Australia
      • Canada
      • Greater China
      • France
      • Germany
      • India
      • Italy
      • Japan
      • Malaysia
      • Mexico
      • Philippines
      • Singapore
      • Spain
      • United Kingdom

    Ineligibility:

    • Leadership: Because the mission of the American Express Developing Leaders grant is to support social purpose organizations by developing their current leaders, we do not fund leadership programs for high school or college students or support scholarships for individuals' personal leadership training.
    • Please do not submit funding requests for:
      • Individual needs, including scholarships, sponsorships and other forms of financial aid.
      • Fund-raising activities, such as galas, benefits, dinners and sporting events.
      • Goodwill advertising, souvenir journals or dinner programs.
      • Travel for individuals or groups.
      • Sectarian activities of religious organizations.
      • Political causes, candidates, organizations or campaigns.
      • Books, magazines or articles in professional journals.
      • Endowments or capital campaigns, except restoration projects.
      • Traveling exhibitions (we will only consider each venue on its own).
      • Sports sponsorships.