6 more big box store community grant opportunities

These grants support nonprofits working in education, housing, health and human services, nutrition, workforce preparedness, arts and culture and more


For many big-box retailers, creating a charitable branch to give back to the communities they operate in is customary. The most common ones youll find are employee volunteer and donation match programs, but some do provide grants and other types of direct funding to support nonprofit organizations in the communities they serve.

#1 Big Lots

The Big Lots Foundation supports programs and organizations that focus on issues across four categories — healthcare, housing, hunger and education, and in particular, those working closely with women and children — with support being in the form of grants, gift cards and merchandise.

Shoppers wait to get into a newly reopened TJ Maxx and Homegoods in Massachusetts. Big box stores and the charitable foundations they operate have continued to serve their communities throughout the pandemic. Image: T&G Staff/Christine Peterson via TNS
Shoppers wait to get into a newly reopened TJ Maxx and Homegoods in Massachusetts. Big box stores and the charitable foundations they operate have continued to serve their communities throughout the pandemic. Image: T&G Staff/Christine Peterson via TNS

Big Lots will only consider requests from 501(c)3 public nonprofits that work in the following areas of the four categories:

Healthcare

  • Improving healthcare through research and education
  • Providing preventative education and care
  • Providing affordable, critical medical care

Housing

  • Preventing families or individuals from losing their housing
  • Providing affordable, stable housing
  • Providing emergency shelter for families and individuals

Hunger

  • Providing nutritious food or meals
  • Providing emergency food assistance
  • Educating families or individuals about the importance of healthy eating

Education

  • Providing service-learning curriculum that aligns with education standards
  • Promoting servant leadership through academic and experiential learning
  • Improving classroom learning outcomes through innovation

Only nonprofits that serve areas where Big Lots operates stores, has distribution centers or corporate offices are eligible to apply. Priority will be given to nonprofits that have a Big Lots associate as a board member, board committee member, or key volunteer; that supports needy families, helping them transition from poverty to self-sufficiency; come from organizations with strong fiscal management and board member commitment and involvement.

Critical partnership projects and substantial funding requests are available on an invitation-only basis.

Big Lots has two grant request deadlines per year. The first deadline is January 1 and the second deadline is July 1. Requests can be made here.

#2 Best Buy

The Best Buy Foundation is dedicated to closing the education gap in underserved and disinvested communities, by providing funding for and access to cutting-edge technology, training, mentorships and real-world career opportunities for teens through its various programs:

  • Best Buy Teen Tech Centers
  • Career Pathways Program
  • Geek Squad Academy
  • National and Community Partner Network

According to the foundations website, it believes your potential shouldnt be determined by the zip code in which you were born.”

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic and the restrictions put in place because of it, the Best Buy Foundation is still working hard to help teens continue to receive much-needed support.

Now, more than ever, were seeing technology is essential for helping young people learn and stay connected,” Andrea Wood, Best Buys head of social impact, said in a press release. This pandemic has underscored the pronounced disparity between those who have access to the tech tools and training required to excel in school and life, and those who dont. We want to ensure all teens have an opportunity to pursue their dreams.”

The Foundation is providing nearly $10 million in funding to assist its current nonprofit partners around the country, including those in Minnesota where its headquarters are located.

Some of the funding will go towards providing 2,500 teens who participate in its Best Buy Teen Tech Centers with internet hotspots for their homes to support socially distanced learning. It is also working with vendor partners like Microsoft and the electronics recycler ERI to provide hundreds of program participants and their families with laptops and tablets in need of them.

Funding will also go towards the various nonprofits that host the foundations Teen Tech Centers to help with operational costs they may be unable to cover due to financial strain from the pandemic. Money may also be used by the centers' programs working to address community needs during this time.

In partnership with Adobe, 2,500 Creative Cloud licenses will be provided to teens from the foundations Teen Tech Center. Best Buy will also be providing Total Tech support to each of The Foundations nonprofit partners to help Teen Tech Tech Centers troubleshoot problems that may prevent them from staying digitally connected as they work to adapt to virtual learning and mentorships.

Best Buy made a $75,000 donation to the Northside Achievement Zone in northern Minneapolis, which was used to purchase 250 Chromebooks for families with children that attend schools in the area who dont have access to computers in their homes. Best Buy also provided a $25,000 matching grant to the Page Education Foundation in Minneapolis, which was used to purchase 186 laptops for students across the state of Minnesota.

Best Buy also awarded another $25,000 grant to the Los Angeles County Office of Education to supply technical support for teachers working in socially distanced learning environments.

#3 Nordstrom

Through Nordstrom Cares, the retailer supports various nonprofits in the US, Canada and Puerto Rico through direct cash grants, as well as giving program partnerships with certain organizations, involving volunteer work and donation of resources.

Annually, the company donates 1% of all of its gift card sales from Nordstrom, Nordstrom Rack, Nordstrom.com and authorized retailers to nonprofits in the communities it serves.

Nordstrom-directed grants are reserved for nonprofits that care for kids and work to empower youth, as well as those the company believes have a significant impact on the communities its stores are located in. 

To be eligible for Nordstrom-directed grants, nonprofits must meet the following requirements:

  • Qualify for nonprofit status under the Internal Revenue Service code or Canadian Revenue Agency
  • Benefit a local community served by Nordstrom
  • Demonstrate sound and responsible financial policies and management
  • Demonstrate the requested funds will support a program or service not readily available elsewhere

Grants are awarded annually and applications must be turned in by October 1st to receive funding for the following year. You can apply here.

#4 TJX

TJX — which operates the discount store brands TJ Maxx, Marshalls, Home Goods, TK Maxx, HomeSense, Sierra and Winners in the U.S., Canada and Europe — provides grant funding for nonprofits that support vulnerable families and children get access to resources and opportunities they need to build a better future.” It does this by giving across four principal social impact areas:

  • Fulfilling critical basic needs for families and children struggling to meet them
  • Providing education and training for at-risk youth to help them reach their full potential
  • Supporting research and care for life-threatening illnesses
  • Preventing domestic violence and providing victims with safe havens and the tools and resources needed to rebuild

TJX has three foundations for each region of the world its stores are located in. In 2018 alone, through its various giving practices, the company supported more than 1,600 nonprofit organizations worldwide.

To be considered for a grant, nonprofits must meet the following requirements:

  • Be aligned with the company's mission
  • Provide services within 15 miles of a TJX store, distribution center, or office
  • Be a registered 501(c)(3) for at least the past 12 months
  • Not have received funding from TJX in the past 12 months
  • Have a public nondiscrimination policy that states that the organization does not, by policy or practice, discriminate against a person or group on the basis of race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation, national origin, age, disability, gender identity and expression, marital or military status, or based on any individuals status in any group or class protected by applicable federal, state, or local law

To determine eligibility, organizations can take the TJX eligibility questionnaire here. It is only after an organization passes the questionnaire that they will have the opportunity to submit a letter of inquiry for funding. Read more about the companies giving guidelines and application process here.

TJX also provides funding for disaster relief by contributing to Red Cross chapters across the globe and various other fundraisers for relief efforts.

#5 Macys

The Josiah Macy Jr. Foundation focuses on supporting the education and training of healthcare professionals, with a focus on investing in clinical learning environments across three major priorities:

  • Promoting diversity, equity, and belonging
  • Increasing collaboration among future health professionals
  • Preparing future health professionals to navigate ethical dilemmas

The Foundation awards up to 40 grants a year through two grant programs — Board Grants and Presidents Grants.

Board grant recipients are selected three times a year at The Foundations board meetings and funding is disbursed over one to three years.

Presidents Grants are awarded at any time by The Foundations president in amounts up to $25,000, for over a year or less.

You can learn more about both application processes here.

Macys also nurtures healthcare professionals through The Macy Faculty Scholars Program, which was created to help promising educational innovators” in medicine and nursing. Every year, five faculty leaders from medical programs are selected to receive salary support of up to $100,000 per year for a two-year duration to help actualize educational change projects at their respective institutions.

#6 Kmart

The Kresge Foundation was created in 1924 by Kmart founder Sebastian Spering Kresge to commemorate the 24th anniversary of the store, initially named the S.S. Kresge Company.

Kresge works to promote human progress by building and strengthening pathways to opportunity for low-income people in Americas cities, seeking to dismantle structural and systemic barriers to equality and justice.” Kresge does this through grants, loans and other forms of social investments through seven giving programs across six focus areas: arts and culture, education, environment, health, human services and community development.

Kresge provides funding for operational support, project and planning for organizations through grants. Through its Social Investment practice, it provides loans, deposits, equity investments and guarantees to alleviate funding barriers, attract other investors to projects and make funding readily available to disinvested communities to further their economic development.

Assistance through this particular funding method supports projects involving healthcare clinics, affordable housing initiatives, social service providers and real estate.

Funding opportunities from the company are either available on an ongoing basis (without deadlines), open for a limited time (with deadlines), or by invitation-only via the Kresge program officer.

Learn more about The Kresge Foundations programs and its funding opportunities and practices here.

Next: 5 big box store community grant opportunities

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