Education / Economic Development Grants

Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation

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Deadline: Rolling

Grant amount: Up to US $220,000

Fields of work: Education System Policy & Reform Art Education Career/College Preparation Teacher Development & Training Entrepreneurship Economic Services & Development

Applicant type: Government Entity, Nonprofit

Funding uses: Education / Outreach, Project / Program

Location of project: West Virginia, Counties in Pennsylvania: Allegheny County, Fayette County, Greene County, Washington County

Location of residency: West Virginia, Counties in Pennsylvania: Allegheny County, Fayette County, Greene County, Washington County

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About this funder:




To encourage human development in West Virginia and Southwestern Pennsylvania through strategically placed charitable resources.

Guiding Principles

The following principles guide the Foundation’s grants programs in those regions: 

  • We honor Michael and Sarah Benedum’s belief in “helping people help themselves,” and we seek opportunities to cultivate the creativity of people and communities. 
  • We nurture leadership within the communities we serve, and we participate in leadership when it adds value.
  • We encourage planning, projects and programs that cross geographical and political boundaries so that access to services and economic growth is maximized.
  • We expect collaboration among the public, private and nonprofit sectors in order to leverage the resources that each can bring to common concerns.
  • We strive to advance innovative practices that demonstrate measurable and sustainable benefit.
  • We seek projects that contribute to advancement in public policy.

What We Fund

In keeping with the wishes of Michael and Sarah Benedum, the Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation is a regional philanthropy focusing on West Virginia and Southwestern Pennsylvania. The Foundation generally invests two-thirds of its grant dollars in West Virginia and one-third in Southwestern Pennsylvania.

The Foundation serves the entire state of West Virginia. In Southwestern Pennsylvania, the service area includes Allegheny, Washington, Greene, and Fayette Counties. This four-county area is a natural connector between Pittsburgh and West Virginia and contains rural communities that may benefit from the Benedum Foundation’s experiences in West Virginia. 

However, the Foundation recognizes that economic regions do not follow political boundaries, and therefore, the Foundation both encourages projects that cross state lines, and supports economic initiatives that benefit the multi-state economy centered on Pittsburgh.

Program Areas: Education and Economic Development

The Foundation makes grants in two program areas that span both states: Education and Economic Development


The Benedum Foundation seeks to promote successful learning through the formal education system. Academic achievement and preparation for the 21st-century workforce are the ultimate objectives of this program.

The Foundation places a high priority on teacher quality and the most advanced instructional tools. Because schools do not function in isolation, the Foundation also looks to the resources of community organizations, business, and higher education to reinforce the learning objectives of the classroom. In preparation for the rising demands of the workplace, the Foundation recognizes the need for all students to enter some form of post-secondary education.

Although the Foundation is interested in any significant opportunity to improve the education system, specific areas of interest include:

  • Programs that improve teacher quality through professional development and innovative instructional strategies.
  • Arts education, the integration of arts into other disciplines, and the partnership of community arts groups and higher education with the PreK-12 education system.
  • Career education that aligns secondary and post-secondary programs to high-demand, high-wage occupations.

Economic Development

Innovation will be the cornerstone of the future success of the economy in West Virginia and Southwestern Pennsylvania. The Foundation supports economic development activities based upon the region’s strengths in research, technology, and advanced manufacturing.

The Foundation’s agenda seeks to promote regional planning and cooperation, recognizing that with respect to any endeavor, “region” should mean whatever area is most appropriate to optimize the available opportunity, without reference to historic, geographic, or political boundaries. The expected outcomes of the Foundation’s Economic Development grants are the creation and growth of innovative, wealth-producing businesses and high-quality jobs.

In addition, many of the communities in the region served by the Foundation are rural, and enjoy abundant natural assets that provide economic opportunities that complement centers of technology-based growth. The Foundation supports efforts to advance agriculture, outdoor recreation, artisanship, and cultural tourism. Specific areas of Foundation interest include:

  • Promotion of entrepreneurship.
  • Projects that promote technology-based economic development.
  • Programs to promote the growth and accessibility of new capital for businesses in distressed communities and areas of high unemployment.

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


  • Grants are made only to 501(c)(3) organizations and to qualified government units and agencies.


  • The Foundation generally does not make grants in support of:
    • Organizations located outside West Virginia or Southwestern Pennsylvania
    • Individuals
    • Organizations not exempt from taxation under Internal Revenue Code
    • Section 501(c)(3)
    • Student aid, fellowships, or travel
    • Construction or equipment
    • Endowment
    • Ongoing operating expenses
    • National organizations
    • Biomedical research
    • Religious organizations for religious purposes
    • Individual elementary and secondary schools
    • Annual appeals or membership drives
    • Conferences, films, books, and audio-visual productions, unless an integral part of a Foundation-supported program.