American Express – Philanthropic Programme

Grant Sources

Grants are available for not-for-profit organisations in the areas of leadership and community service.

Objectives of Fund

Not-for-profit organisations can apply for either of the following two priorities:

  • Community Service – encouraging community services where American Express employees and customers live and work.
  • Leadership – developing new leaders for tomorrow.

Value Notes

There are no minimum or maximum funding levels stated in the guidelines.

Who Can Apply

Grants are made to organisations that are able to provide documentary evidence of not-for-profit status.


Funding requests are not accepted for:

  • Individual needs, including scholarships, sponsorships and other forms of financial aid and assistance.
  • Fundraising activities, such as benefits, charitable dinners, galas or sporting events.
  • Goodwill advertising, souvenir journals or dinner programmes.
  • Travel for individuals or groups.
  • Sectarian activities of religious organisations.
  • Political causes, candidates, organisations or campaigns.
  • Books, magazines or articles in professional journals.
  • Endowments or capital campaigns, except restoration projects.
  • Travelling exhibitions (the Foundation will only consider each venue on its own).
  • Sports sponsorships.

Organisations that discriminate on the basis of race, colour, religion, sex, national origin, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, genetic information, citizenship, veteran or marital status, or any other basis prohibited by law will not be supported.

Eligible Expenditure

The funding is for projects that address either of the following two priorities:

Community Service

Good citizenship is encouraged by supporting organisations that cultivate meaningful opportunities for civic engagement by employees and members of the community.

Communities are supported by immediate and long-term relief and recovery efforts to help victims of natural disasters. Funding also goes to support preparedness programmes that allow relief agencies to be better equipped in responding to emergencies as they occur.

Supported programmes must encourage community service and civic participation, and deliver measurable outcomes that have a lasting impact on communities through one or more of the following:

  • Building the capacity of nonprofits by assisting them in developing, engaging and retaining community members as volunteers.
  • Encouraging citizens to play an active role in civic processes (e.g., voting).
  • Engaging community members and American Express employees in ongoing service. This may include a variety of activities from promoting individual philanthropy, volunteerism or participation in local civic organizations.


The programme is seeking the best methods, programmes and partners that provide current and future nonprofit leaders with practical opportunities to learn and build leadership skills. It is especially interested in proposals that cultivate leadership opportunities for diverse communities within the nonprofit sector or that focus on innovative leadership development programmes for emerging leaders of world-class institutions. The focus is on training professionals with demonstrated commitment to the nonprofit sector in programmes specifically targeted to the arts, environment, higher education and social service arenas. A limited number of requests for programmes impacting emerging leaders in the public sector and requests for programmes that support entrepreneurs will be accepted.

Supported programmes must encourage leadership development for emerging leaders through one or more of the following:

  • Addressing the leadership deficit in the nonprofit sector, whether by enabling new executive directors or supporting the training and development of emerging leaders.
  • Diversifying the current landscape of nonprofit leaders.
  • Transforming organisations through best-in-class management and leadership practices, whether through board leadership, implementing management principles or expanding an organisation’s capacity to attract, develop and retain leadership talent.

Projects that may be supported include the following:

  • Supporting leadership training by an organisation to a wider group of organisations within the same discipline or field.
  • Supporting leadership development of an organisation’s local members or affiliates.
  • Supporting leadership development of an organisation located in key geographic areas.

Applications for youth leadership programs are discouraged. Support is not available for scholarships for an individual’s personal leadership training.

How To Apply

This is a rolling programme, and applications may be made at any time.

Organisations should complete the online eligibility quiz. Successful organisations will then be sent an invitation to submit a funding proposal.

This document might be of interest – American Express Grant Awards 2016

For all enquiries contact:

Enquiries, American Express Company, 3 World Financial Center, Mail code 01-48-04, New York, NY 10285-4804

Tel:  001 800 528 4800

Website – 

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