The GE Foundation, the philanthropic organization of GE, has a rich history of building a world that works better. We empower people by helping them develop the skills they need to succeed in a global economy. We equip communities with the technology and capacity to improve access to better health and education. We elevate ideas that are tackling the world’s toughest challenges to advance economic development and improve lives. The GE Foundation is powered by the generosity and talent of our employees, who have a strong commitment to their communities.
In the 1950s, the GE Foundation supported grantees, including the United Negro College Fund, the American Red Cross and higher education institutions such as Johns Hopkins University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Initial projects focused on modernizing the teaching of accounting, electrical engineering and physics. In 1954, the GE Foundation created the Corporate Alumni Program, the first corporate gift-matching program for colleges and universities, which over time revolutionized corporate giving and empowered employees and corporations to team up and leverage their higher-education donations.
In the 1960s, during a period of widespread social unrest in the U.S., the GE Foundation led efforts to support minority students and published research on urban problems and solutions. By the end of the decade, virtually every GE Foundation dollar went to educational initiatives.
In the 1970s, the GE Foundation supported grants that enabled colleges to more effectively address contemporary societal needs, spurring changes in curriculum design. GE chairman Reginald Jones led a national effort to support minorities in the field of engineering, and a GE Foundation grant helped form what has become the National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering (NACME).
The GE Foundation made significant strides in the 1980s and 1990s by launching programs that continue to impact our communities. In the 1980s, the GE Foundation began supporting local United Way campaigns, created the More Gifts…More Givers program (a matching gifts program for community-based organizations), and—for the first time—made grants outside the U.S., in countries such as Brazil, China and Mexico. The GE Foundation also began its signature College Bound initiative, a program designed to increase the number of inner-city U.S. high school students pursuing higher education. In the 1990s, the GE Foundation accelerated giving outside the U.S., primarily aiming to assist students seeking higher education, and launched a new Environmental Stewardship program to bolster environmental education and protect natural resources.
In the early 2000s, the GE Foundation launched its signature programs, in order to help solve some of the world’s toughest challenges in health and education. Developing Health Globally™ (DHG) is the GE Foundation’s program to improve healthcare delivery for some of the world’s most vulnerable populations in sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America and Southeast Asia.
Beginning in 2005, the Developing Futures™ in Education Program supports high-impact initiatives that improve the equity and quality of K–12 public education in the U.S. This program has invested more than $225 million and thousands of hours to support student achievement and professional development for teachers in K–12 public schools across the U.S. In addition, the GE Foundation regularly convenes business leaders and educators to share best practices and drive impactful partnerships in education across 32 states.
In 2009, the GE Foundation created Developing Health™ (DH US) through numerous productive partnerships with independent, non-profit community health centers (CHCs). Since then, the GE Foundation has invested millions of dollars in the program, which supports GE’s healthymagination initiative to bring better and cheaper healthcare to more people.
In addition, the GE Foundation and the wider GE family played an integral part in addressing natural disasters like Hurricane Katrina and the 2004 tsunami that devastated Indonesia. On behalf of GE, the GE Foundation also led the response to 9/11 with a $10 million contribution to the Twin Towers Fund.
Today, the GE Foundation continues to build on its proud history and leverage the best of GE—people, ideas and resources—to make our communities stronger all over the world.