Michael and Susan Dell Foundation

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    Funder Type

    Private Foundation

    IT Classification

    C - Funds little to no technology


    Michael and Susan Dell Foundation (MSDF) (Texas)


    Established in Texas in 1999, the Michael and Susan Dell Foundation funds social enterprises that directly serve or impact children or youth from urban low-income communities in the areas of education, health, and family economic stability (including livelihoods and financial inclusion). The foundation's grantmaking is structured to accelerate projects already making a difference. The foundation seeks to fund proven projects in the areas of education, health, and family economic stability — catalyzing them toward greater impact in the United States, India, and South Africa. The aim is to create long-term, systemic change through enduring partnerships.

    Specific areas of focus are as follows:

    • Education: Millions of children from low-income backgrounds don't have the chance to attend a high-quality school. For those who do, unique challenges remain, making it harder for them to get to and through college. The Michael and Susan Dell Foundation invests in closing these opportunity gaps so all students can pursue a quality education, providing a pathway to prosperity for them and their families.
      • Quality Schools: The foundation collaborates with innovative organizations across sectors to facilitate systemic change and foster the growth of great schools.
      • Classroom Supports: The foundation empowers educators with the information, tools, and skills needed to provide a positive learning experience for students that sets them up for success.
      • College Success: The foundation provides students from low-income backgrounds with comprehensive, individualized support during their educational journey — from college preparation and completion to career placement or continued learning.
    • Health: Poverty and poor health are intertwined, feeding off each other and stacking the odds against millions of children and their families. The Michael and Susan Dell Foundation team is working to break the cycle on both a community and systemic level.
      • Health and Wellness: The foundation's approach focuses on the drivers of health, such as food access and affordability. In addition, the foundation invests in quality medical care and works alongside families to improve the overall health of the community.
    • Family Economic Stability: To forge a path out of urban poverty, individuals need viable jobs and market-ready skills. Even the ability to save and manage money with basic banking services can make a huge difference for a family's economic stability. Together with their partners, the foundation connects people with career and financial services programs to help them build a better future.
      • Jobs and Livelihoods: The foundation invests in scalable, sustainable programs that provide career counseling, vocational skills, and other benefits to address the global shortage of skilled workers and a high unemployment rate for youth.
      • Financial Services: The foundation helps people build more financially stable lives by supporting credit and savings organizations working with the urban poor.

    In addition to grantmaking, the foundation also uses mission-related impact investing structured to support companies that can radically advance social progress. The foundation uses a range of financial tools and structures to support their work in education, health and family economic stability. This strategy focuses on developing products and tools, as well as new markets. The foundation also knows that graduating from college or university and finding meaningful employment are two achievements that can have a profound impact on a student's life and the lives of their family members. The foundation ensures that students from low-income backgrounds have the support they need to graduate from college or university through their scholarship and support programs in the United States and South Africa.


    History of Funding

    A complete list of funded projects is available to view online at: https://www.dell.org/how-we-fund/grants/?tab=database-content

    Additional Information

    The foundation evaluates grant applications based on these initial criteria:

    1. The project location is in the United States, India, or South Africa.
    2. Its focus area and location is education (all locations), health and wellness (U.S. only), or family economic stability (in India, South Africa, and regionally in Central Texas and Greater Boston).
    3. Funding will be put towards project support or efforts to scale.
    4. The organization is an association or board, charitable trust, community foundation, social enterprise, direct service organization, not-for-profit company, government, pass-through organization, private foundation, religious organization, school, or education organization.
    5. The amount requested is $50,000 or more.
    6. All organizations involved in the project align with the foundation's values in standing against racism, antisemitism, and hate.

    The foundation does not provide grants to support:

    • Individuals
    • Medical research projects
    • Event fundraisers or sponsorships
    • Lobbying of any kind
    • Endowments
    • Infrastructure
    • Requests for computers, laptops, tablets, or other hardware

    Note: The Michael & Susan Dell Foundation is not affiliated with Dell Technologies and does not supply computers or related technology equipment.


    Michael and Susan Dell Foundation Staff

    Michael and Susan Dell Foundation Staff
    PO Box 163867
    Austin, TX 78716
    (512) 600-5501

  • Eligibility Details

    Organizations in the United States, India, and South Africa are eligible to apply. The foundation's focus areas and locations are education (all locations), health and wellness (U.S. only), or family economic stability (in India, South Africa, and regionally in Central Texas and Greater Boston).

    Deadline Details

    Applications are accepted at any time. After you submit your funding request online, you will be directed to a confirmation web page with details on the timeline for review. After the foundation team reviews your request in detail, they will email you about the status of your submission. 

    Award Details

    The exact amount of the foundation's contributions changes from year to year, depending on need and programs. Award amounts vary based upon proposal and program area. As a general rule, the Foundation does not fund more than 25% of a project's budget or more than 10% of an organization's total annual operating expenses. The amount requested must be $50,000 or more.

    Related Webcasts Use the links below to view the recorded playback of these webcasts

    • Funding Classroom Technology to Empower Students and Teachers - Sponsored by Panasonic - Playback Available
    • Maximizing Technology-friendly Workforce Development Grants - Sponsored by Panasonic - Playback Available
    • Funding Data-driven Workforce Development Projects - Sponsored by NetApp - Playback Available


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