BNSF Railway Foundation Grants

BNSF Railway Foundation

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Deadline: Rolling

Grant amount: US $1,000 - US $10,000

Fields of work: Recreation Environment Art & Culture Health & Medicine Human & Social Services Youth Services Education - Higher Education Vocational & Trade Education Civic Affairs Show all

Applicant type: Indigenous Group, Government Entity, College / University, Nonprofit

Funding uses: Education / Outreach, Project / Program

Location of project: Counties in Alabama: Calhoun County, Cleburne County, Jefferson County, Marion County, Shelby County Show all

Location of residency: United States

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About this funder:



BNSF Railway Foundation Grants

The BNSF Railway Foundation is incorporated within the State of Texas and is housed at BNSF Railway's corporate headquarters in Fort Worth. The Burlington Northern Santa Fe Foundation had been BNSF Railway's main vehicle for charitable giving since 1996 when the Burlington Northern and Santa Fe Railroads merged to form the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway, now known as the BNSF Railway.

The BNSF Railway Foundation has supported and helped improve quality of life for thousands of communities across the 28 states through which BNSF operates, and where BNSF employees live, work and volunteer. Indeed, as the corporation's assets have grown, the Foundation's giving has expanded to help more and more communities.


The Foundation is dedicated to supporting the communities we serve and in which our employees live, work, and volunteer. Your organization, or program, should exist in or serve a community near one of BNSF's rail lines to be eligible to apply for grants. Please refer to the BNSF system map included in the Policies section to determine whether you are located on a BNSF route.

While BNSF is proud to support many causes, it is not possible for us to fund every request that comes to us.

BNSF Railway Grant Program

Generally, we will consider requests for funding that clearly fall within one or more of the following categories, although a clear fit does not guarantee that your organization will be funded:

  1. Civic services including organizations which are concerned with the environment, as well as local community issues such as crime prevention, parks and recreation, diversity and community development.
  2. Cultural organizations that include performing, visual, and fine arts, museums and other related activities that offer opportunities for underserved children to experience cultural learning events, or preserve their cultural heritage.
  3. Educational institutions, both public and private, primarily at the college level. Grants of an exceptional nature may be made to vocational and non-college schools. Preferably, contributions will be directed toward the improvement of the quality of education. Ordinarily, grants will not be made to finance the expansion of a student body or the payment of scholarships. (BNSF's scholarship programs, as well as the Employee Matching Gift Program, are governed by separate policies.)
  4. Health and Human Service organizations such as YMCA/YWCA, programs that address chemical dependency treatment and prevention, spouse and child abuse, women's and children's aid and transitional shelters. This category also includes hospitals and medical programs.
  5. Youth organizations such as Boys & Girls Clubs, Camp Fire, Scouts, Junior Achievement and similar groups.
  6. Federated organizations such as United Way and American Red Cross.
  7. A federally recognized tribal government, listed in the Federal Register by the Department of the Interior, Bureau of Indian Affairs.

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


  • BNSF Railway Foundation's contributions are limited to not-for-profit, tax-exempt organizations which have obtained IRS status under Section 501(c)3 of the IRS Code and, where appropriate, under Section 170(c).
  • BNSF Railway Foundation contributions to tribal governments are limited to tribal governments listed in the current Federal Register publication of the list of Indian Entities Recognized and Eligible to Receive Services from the United States Bureau of Indian Affairs.
  • We are able to consider your request only if your organization has already obtained 501(c)3 status of the Internal Revenue Code; or your organization is a division of local government; federally recognized tribal government; or your organization is a school or university.
  • Your organization, or program, should exist in or serve a community near one of BNSF's rail lines to be eligible to apply for grants.


  • While we understand that nonprofits' needs are great, we also realize that we have a responsibility to make the most impactful investments as possible in our communities. Therefore, it is highly unlikely that your request will be considered if you do not meet the following criteria:
    • You will be considered for a BNSF Railway Foundation grant only if you can show that you meet at least two of the following criteria:
      • Your organization or project has significant BNSF employee participation
      • Your organization or the services provided are in close proximity to a BNSF main line; or if BNSF is the only railroad or major corporation in your area of the state
      • Your request is related to the railroad industry
      • Your request is for direct programming or project support
    • If your organization is volunteer-driven, there must be significant BNSF employee involvement in order for the BNSF Railway Foundation to consider funding your project.
    • In addition, strong preference will be given to requests that fall under one of the following areas of interest:
      • Health & human services
      • Education
      • Youth
      • Civic
      • Cultural and historic preservation
    • Finally, priority will be given to organizations having an established relationship with the BNSF Railway Foundation.


  • BNSF Railway Foundation rarely considers contributions for the following types of groups/requests:
    • General operating funds
    • General endowment funds
    • Computers or computer-related projects
    • Salaries, wages or administrative expenses
    • Capital Campaign
  • The BNSF Railway Foundation does not fund any of the following:
    • Direct support, including travel funds, for individuals or families
    • Religious or faith-based organizations, unless the program does not promote a specific religion or faith and is not restricted to populations of specific religions or faiths
    • Athletic teams and fraternal, veteran, social, alumni, or labor organizations, such as university alumni groups, sororities/fraternities, labor unions, exclusive membership clubs, etc. (the Foundation does support organizations that serve veterans, provided the organization is a 501(c)(3) charity under IRS rules)
    • Health programs and organizations, at a national level
    • Corporate memberships or contributions to Chambers of Commerce, taxpayer associations and other bodies whose activities are expected to directly benefit the corporation
    • Political campaigns or lobbying organizations, or organizations supporting the candidacy of a particular individual
    • Sponsorship of fundraising events (including benefit dinners, auctions, sports competitions, etc.) or goodwill advertising
    • Tables and/or tickets to gala fundraisers that would violate IRS law governing self-dealing
    • Activities of organizations serving primarily their own membership
    • Private foundations
    • General endowments
    • Programs beyond BNSF’s state areas of interest, or beyond its geographical areas of service (Please refer to the BNSF Network Map to determine if your organization is within our geographic areas of service.)