Strengthening communities and improving life outcomes of disadvantaged youth through dynamic partnerships with innovative nonprofits.

Women looking at papers, collaborating.

Approximately 40% of our investments are focused on capacity building.


A median grant payment of $70K focused on strengthening organizations and ensuring sustained positive impact.

6 years

Committed to true partnership and long term collaboration, the average grantee has been in our portfolio for 6 years.

Funding Priorities

Our grants support nonprofit organizations that provide educational and employment opportunities that help advance the self-sufficiency of underserved youth and their families. These investments elevate the operational, programmatic, financial, and organizational effectiveness of our nonprofit partners to help ensure the sustained advancement of their missions.

College Access & Success

College Access & Success

Support for programs that help students graduate from high school, prepare for and enroll in college, and secure a post-secondary degree.

Career Pathways

Career Pathways

Education, training, work-experience, or job placement programs that lead to rewarding and sustainable careers.

Family Strengthening

Family Strengthening

Programs that work simultaneously with parents and children to promote healthy parenting and build resilient, stable families.

Community Focus

Since building long-term, trusting relationships with our nonprofit partners and understanding the communities where they operate is so important to us, our funding is focused on the three areas where the majority of our family members and staff live.

Washington, DC

LA + Orange County, CA

Western MA

Scaling Program Infrastructure

STEM Advantage received a $600,000 investment over three years from The Ceres Foundation to scale our program, advance equity through education and employment, and address the racial wealth gap. We mentor, prepare, and inspire women and underserved communities to pursue STEM careers with the vision of building a diverse, equitable, and inclusive skilled workforce. As an all-volunteer group of STEM professionals, we did not have the resources or capacity to grow. We needed a dedicated program team to demonstrate sustainability and scalability to investors. This catalytic gift from Ceres is transformative and enables us to invest in two new positions that will help expand the program (from 175 scholars in its 2022 cohort to 250-300 in 2025). With this critical staff, we will also be able to maintain our high-touch, high-impact comprehensive program model, build best-in-class mentorship and internship programs, and develop strategic partnerships.

Lee Ann Kline, President & Founder
STEM Advantage
College grad jumping in air
Partner Since 2022
LA + Orange County
College Access & Success

Providing Catalytic Investments

For almost two decades, The Ceres Foundation has supported our college preparation programs, which help low-income young mothers, primarily women of color, fall back in love with learning through arts, humanities, and athletics. In 2015, inspired by conversations with Ceres’ leadership and with a catalytic Ceres grant, The Care Center launched Bard Microcollege Holyoke, the nation’s first college for young mothers and low-income women. The Microcollege has been recognized in The New York Times, The Boston Globe, The Christian Science Monitor, and The Chronicle of Higher Education. Most recently, Ceres made a $1M anchor gift to launch The Care Center’s endowment campaign to permanently sustain Bard Microcollege Holyoke. The Ceres Foundation’s support over the years has allowed us to be creative and bold. It’s helped us expand successful programs, launch new ideas, enhance our supports for young mothers, and weather difficult periods. With funding from Ceres, we created a nationally recognized college preparation program for young mothers and launched a groundbreaking new college model. Through its endowment gift, Ceres is helping ensure the Microcollege remains a permanent community resource.

Anne Teschner, Former Executive Director
The Care Center
Woman with baby
Partner Since 2004
Western MA
College Access & Success

Supporting Continuous Improvement

For many years, The Ceres Foundation supported Mentors Inc., an organization that provided mentoring support to middle and high school students with the goal of increasing Washington, DC graduation rates. Kid Power acquired Mentors Inc. in 2019 with the vision to offer a comprehensive whole-child approach to serving youth. We’ve been incredibly honored to continue to receive Ceres funding in addition to strategic conversations to improve mentoring programs in the District. Historically, Ceres Foundation investments provided critical support, contributing to high school graduation rates of 90-100% for program participants. Most recently, Ceres funding enabled Kid Power to align our program with the National Quality Mentoring System’s standards and procedures of a high-quality mentoring program. Specifically, we’ve created new mentor recruitment and training strategies, evaluation protocols, a data management system, and better recruitment and support systems. Finally, Ceres funding has allowed us to hire additional staff to expand capacity as we seek to scale our program. With these enhancements, we’ve been able to leverage support to help us continue to grow and impact more DC proteges.

Andria Tobin, Executive Director
Kid Power, Inc.
Two children in a classroom
Partner Since 2004
Washington, DC
College Access & Success

Seeding Growth and Innovation

The Ceres Foundation has been one of the earliest and strongest supporters of Thrive Scholars, almost since its inception as South Central Scholars. Grants from Ceres over the last 20 years (totaling nearly $3M) have been integral in our organization’s evolution from a small LA focused organization to a national entity poised to serve nearly 1,000 Scholars in 2022. The Ceres Foundation’s most recent commitment of $1M over five years helped propel our national growth strategy, which established a stronger presence throughout the country. The foundation’s ongoing philanthropic commitment allows staff to remain nimble and innovative in addressing Scholars’ changing needs. Most recently, support from Ceres enabled the roll-out of our Career Development program. Thrive now provides a four-year career curriculum (including two years of personalized career coaching), access to a professional network, and internships and jobs at our corporate partners. Thrive recently added industry-focused tracks for Scholars interested in pursuing STEM, Finance, Consulting, and Law careers.

Steve Stein, CEO
Thrive Scholars
Group of college bound youth
Partner Since 2002
LA + Orange County
College Access & Success
Three young adults, smiling walking on a street.

Grant Application Process

We proudly invest in strong leaders and support organizations that range from small grassroots efforts to more established programs. We invite you to learn more about grant eligibility, application requirements, and the review process.

Learn More About Applying