Who We Are
Based in Los Angeles, ECMC Foundation is a national foundation working to improve postsecondary outcomes for students from underserved backgrounds. It is one of several affiliates under the ECMC Group enterprise based in Minneapolis, which together work to help students succeed.
The Foundation’s strategic grantmaking is concentrated in two focus areas: College Success and Career Readiness. In addition, the Foundation makes program-related investments through its Education Innovation Ventures portfolio to both nonprofit and for-profit ventures. Learn more about our approach.
To improve higher education and career success among underserved populations through evidence-based innovation.
The United States has long put its faith in education as the great equalizer, the best way for individuals to change their socioeconomic circumstances and pursue their dreams. As more jobs require at least some education beyond high school, securing a postsecondary credential is even more critical to improving economic mobility. With some estimates suggesting as many as 54% of workers will either have to undergo re-skilling or upskilling to keep pace over the next few years, access to quality education and training opportunities is essential to promoting equity in our evolving workforce.
Yet, many individuals, especially students of color, low-income students, first-generation college students and adult learners face systemic barriers in their pursuit of postsecondary certificates and degrees, impairing their ability to secure jobs with family-sustaining wages and advancement opportunities.
ECMC Foundation's work addresses these challenges. We support organizations and institutions that provide high-quality programs and support to students and learners from underserved backgrounds.
All learners unlock their fullest potential.
We envision a country where all learners—regardless of their socioeconomic background, which neighborhood or zip code they grew up in, or the color of their skin—have access to quality educational and career opportunities and the necessary supports to succeed.
Through the work of our grantees and partners, learners are engaged in educational experiences that are rigorous, hands-on and relevant. Learners are prepared with the knowledge and skills necessary to succeed both in postsecondary education and their careers. They are empowered with self-confidence and a belief that they can pursue any educational and career path of their choosing.
Learning is a lifelong practice. Certificates and degrees are essential stepping stones to success, but not the end of the road. As the economy evolves, new jobs emerge and the skill sets that are most in demand shift. Adopting a lifelong learning mindset and drive for continuous career development is essential.
Central to our vision is the idea that everyone has an innate ability to unlock their fullest potential, no matter what educational and career pathway they seek. With the right support and education, all learners—emerging and continuing—have the power to turn aspirations into realities.
- College Success is focused on increasing the number of college students from historically underrepresented backgrounds, including low-income and first-generation populations, who pursue and attain bachelor's degrees. Learn more about the College Success portfolio
- Career Readiness is committed to connecting adults with limited or no education beyond high school to career pathways that allow for economic mobility and a family-sustaining wage. Learn more about the Career Readiness portfolio
Long-Term Investments: We aim to make long-term investments—either alone or by leveraging the work of other nonprofit, public, private and philanthropic partners—that improve academic achievement among underserved students as they prepare themselves for postsecondary education and fulfilling careers. Visit our Grants & Investments Database
Entrepreneurial: We take risks with our grantmaking dollars, understanding that failure is a natural part of generating discoveries. We support innovation and a willingness to experiment with a bias toward ideas that can be scaled to benefit large numbers of students. Read stories from our partners in our Grantee Spotlights
Research and Reforms: We support important research and reforms that help people prepare for postsecondary success and careers. Read recent Research from the Field
Measurement and Evaluation: We require measurement and evaluation in all that we do and recognize our obligation to share the results of our work to help educate and improve the field, free of charge and available to all. Find out What We’re Learning
In 2000, ECMC Foundation was created as the charitable arm of ECMC Group. For more than 10 years, the Foundation provided millions of dollars in educational scholarships nationwide. Then, in 2014, ECMC Foundation Board of Directors decided to become more strategic in their grantmaking and hired President Peter J. Taylor to lead the organization. The Foundation solidified its strategic grantmaking focus on postsecondary education, specifically in the areas of College Success and Career Readiness, and expanded its investment methods through Education Innovation Ventures in 2018. In more recent years, the Foundation has also launched special initiatives.
For a comprehensive look at our evolution over the years, read our annual reports.