Name of Foundation: The Jack Kent Cooke Foundation
Location: Lansdowne, VA
Contact Information: Contact form on website
Phone: For scholarships – 800-941-3300, Other – 703-723-8000
Coverage Area: Nationwide, with some programs focused in Washington D.C., Maryland, Northern Virginia
Subject Area: Education
Assets: $706,215,918 (2014 Form 990-PF)
Last Year Total Giving: $22,466,474.35 (2014 Form 990-PF)
In a Nutshell:
Entrepreneur and philanthropist Jack Kent Cooke’s legacy might, at first glance, seem to be most notable in the world of sports. The self-made billionaire’s biography includes ownership of the Washington Redskins, who won three Super Bowls during Cooke’s tenure, the Los Angeles Lakers and the L.A. Kings, for whom he developed The Forum as a home court/rink (he eventually sold all three L.A. entities — the Lakers, the Kings, and the Forum — to Jerry Buss in 1979).
However the legacy of Cooke’s that continues to grow is that of philanthropist and educational champion, through the work done by the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation. Cooke himself died in 1997 and the foundation was established in 2000 through Cooke’s will, to support young people “of exceptional promise…[who] defy the stereotype that poverty precludes high achievement,” according to a video on the organization’s website.
$125 million has been granted in scholarships to 1,800 students since the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation’s creation, making it, according to the website, the largest scholarship foundation in the country.
Major Program Categories: The foundation provides two types of support, scholarships to students and grants to nonprofit organizations, both of which are ultimately aimed at serving high-achieving students with financial need.
Its three categories of scholarship come not only with financial support but also formal advising, college counseling and networking opportunities, among other resources. The Young Scholars program is geared toward high performing 7th graders, for use in their 8th grade through senior years of high school. The scholarship gives these students funds to participate in enrichment programs, internships, and study abroad opportunities, in addition to books and tech resources for each academic year.
The College Scholarship program is geared toward high school seniors planning to attend a top-tier four-year college, and provides recipients up to $40,000 per year and counseling resources. Similarly, the Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship provides recipients transferring from a two-year or community college to a four-year college up to $40,000 to complete their final two or three years of college education.
The foundation invests grants in education-focused nonprofits that help under-resourced students, families and communities maximize their potential, specifically in the areas of academic achievement, artistic advancement, and college access and excellence. It also awards Good Neighbor Grants to organizations in Northern Virginia, metropolitan Washington D.C., and Maryland that are working to help students with “significant financial need” succeed and excel.
One notable example of leadership in the field of closing the education gap is the Jack Kent Cook Foundation’s role in launching the Lead Higher Initiative, which “works to enable secondary schools to fully reflect their diversity at the highest academic levels; and to elevate our national conversation about low-income students and students of color beyond achieving proficiency to academic excellence.”
For more information on Jack Kent Cooke Foundation grants for nonprofit organizations, click here.
How to Apply:
All scholarship applications are completed online, on the following timeline:
- Young Scholars Program – January to April
- College Scholarship Program – late September to November
- Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship – late August to October
Through the website, you can set an alert to be notified when each application goes live. Be prepared for that fact that applications require information not only from the student who would receive the scholarship, but also their parent(s)/guardian(s), academic recommenders, and in some cases a school principal or guidance counselor.
Organizations in the appropriate geographic areas are invited to submit proposals for Good Neighbor Grants from September 15 through November 15th. Details of that process can be found here.
None of the other grant categories accept unsolicited proposals. However, interested parties are encouraged to join the outreach list, which you can do by emailing [email protected].
Recent News and Grantmaking: