Michael Dell’s name has achieved household status over the last twenty years due to his creation of Dell, the computer company he founded as a 19-year-old in 1984 with $1,000. The company has since grown to be one facet of Dell Technologies, made up of seven information technology companies that operate around the globe. However, the Dells are also a global influencer in the world of philanthropy. In 1999, Michael Dell and his wife Susan created the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation, which since its inception has donated hundreds of millions of dollars to efforts in the United States, India and South Africa through grants, impact investing and direct-service partnerships.
The foundation is guided by a “global mission of transforming the lives of children living in urban poverty through better education, family economic stability and health.”
It meets this mission through funding geared toward urban education, college success, family economic stability, and health and wellness. In addition to giving grants toward organizations and projects achieving data-driven and scalable impact in these areas, the Michael and Susan Dell Foundation spearheads (and invests in) the conversation about the future of philanthropy and engaging social entrepreneurship alongside nonprofits as part of that work. Its publication of “A Philanthropist’s Guide to the Future” outlines research about how the field is shifting, and provides some context for the Dells’ recent commitment of an additional one billion dollars to their foundation’s endowment.
Major Program Categories: In an effort to move the needle on systemic issues in urban education, the Dell Foundation supports programs and efforts backed up by data, and striving to provide a quality public school experience. Projects connected to education, scholarships and its Ed-Fi Alliance received over $53 million from the foundation in 2015, out of the just over $73 million that was awarded across all major program categories.
These dollars have been directed toward organizations such as the Charter School Growth Fund, Denver Public Schools, New Jersey’s Camden City School District, and Building Excellent Schools, among dozens of others. Additionally, a cornerstone of the foundation’s work in college success is the Dell Scholars Program which supports first-generation students from low-income backgrounds to achieve success in college.
The foundation’s health and wellness giving aims to serve low-income students and families’ access healthy choices, and overcome barriers that face their communities related to health and wellness. Family economic stability grants underscore the foundation’s belief that “financial stability can help break the cycle of poverty and ensure better health and education for their children.” These grants are aimed toward India and South Africa.
For more information on these program priorities, and also to check out research the foundation has produced related to these areas, visit its website.
How to Apply: According to its website, the foundation “only accepts unsolicited proposals for specific areas within the education, family economic stability and childhood health sectors in select countries where we work.” To initiate this grant application process, an organization must submit/pass an eligibility quiz. Eligible organizations will then be directed toward the full application process.
Name of Foundation: Michael and Susan Dell Foundation
Location: Austin, TX
Contact Information: Email – [email protected]
Coverage Area: United States, with a particular focus on Central Texas, South Africa, India
Subject Area: Urban Education, College Success, Family Economic Stability, Health & Wellness
Total Assets: $761,627,288 (2015)
Last Year Total Giving: $73, 083, 411 (2015)
Recent News and Grantmaking: