This year brought a significant milestone for the Newark-based Prudential Foundation, as its latest round of grants pushed the foundation’s all-time total contributions over the $1 billion mark.
The foundation, which started making grants in 1978, “provides grants to nonprofit organizations in an effort to help close the financial divide by creating inclusive workplaces and communities, and accelerating economic mobility,” according to Shané Harris, head of Social Responsibility and Partnerships in Inclusive Solutions and the president of The Prudential Foundation.
“These organizations provide employment training and financial resources and tools. They examine how you create a thriving community by removing the barriers to economic mobility. Additionally, they think about it all from a racial equity lens, because these communities tend to be predominantly comprised of people of color,” Harris says.
Among the values that guide the Prudential Foundation’s grant-making is patient capital. Its grant-making may persist for several years to build a nonprofit’s capacity and scale to deliver sustainable, long-term impact for people and communities.
“We provide catalytic funding for new initiatives. We expect specific outcomes from our grants, but the nonprofits typically are able to use our funds for general operating support to keep the doors open and lights on, which is not common in philanthropy,” explains Sarah Keh, vice president, Social Responsibility and Partnerships, Inclusive Solutions.
What’s more, the Foundation often provides early, multiyear grants. This allows organizations to grow and focus on their work without having to continuously fundraise. With this early financial support in hand, the nonprofits can focus on enhancing their impact.
Keh points out that The Prudential Foundation remains dedicated to making a societal impact especially during the tumult of the past year and a half.
“Think back to John Dryden, who founded Prudential because working families couldn’t afford to bury their loved ones. He saw a societal challenge and he created a company to meet it. The Foundation’s approach is a key part of how Prudential continues to live out Dryden’s mission of eliminating financial barriers and providing people with the tools to achieve financial security,” she says. “Through this work — along with other ways Prudential rolls up its sleeves to help tackle tough societal issues — we gain invaluable insight into community needs.”
Even though 2020 was a year of tremendous hurdles and an unprecedented health and economic crisis, the Foundation was able to make a real difference with its partners.
Just as the work of Impact & Responsible Investing bolsters Prudential’s ability to tackle pressing societal issues, the company can amplify the Foundation’s impact through contributions from the corporation itself. Prudential’s latest round of grants — some funded by the Foundation and some by the corporation — focus on four key areas, all of which align to Prudential’s commitments to advance racial equity:
Historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs). Funding includes a corporate contribution from PGIM to Hampton University, which will provide access to technology that will help level the playing field for scholars. Contributions will strengthen schools’ operational capacity and support talent acquisition as well as provide direct student support by hosting an on-site HBCU Early Talent Summit and through grants to support student emergencies.
Public policy, specifically voting rights, criminal justice reform and police reform. This includes supporting organizations such as the Bipartisan Policy Center and the Center for Policing Equity.
Cultural institutions. In addition to continuing support for the National Museum of African American History and Culture, Prudential is supporting the Obama Presidential Center, which recently broke ground.
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