The Norfolk Southern Foundation was established in 1983 to direct and implement Norfolk Southern Corporation's charitable giving programs. Through strategic investment in educational, cultural, environmental, and human service organizations within Norfolk Southern’s service territory, the Foundation seeks to enhance the quality of life for Norfolk Southern employees and the "livability" of the communities it serves.
The Foundation's intent is to help ensure that:
- Our region's children are provided with first-class educational opportunities that make them productive and valued employees in the future;
- Our communities can provide basic human services (food, shelter, and medical care) to those in need;
- Our communities can offer their citizens access to cultural opportunities that make life more enjoyable; and
- Our communities can provide residential and work environments that are safe, attractive, and desirable.
As a major employer in large and small communities throughout the eastern United States, Norfolk Southern takes seriously its role as a corporate citizen and its responsibility to commit resources, both human and financial, to help improve those communities for the benefit of our employees and our neighbors. This commitment is acknowledged in Norfolk Southern's Corporate Creed.
In 2014, charitable and other contributions totaled approximately $12.16 million.
The Norfolk Southern Foundation offers grants in four principal areas:
- Educational programs, primarily at the post-secondary level;
- Community enrichment focusing on cultural and artistic organizations;
- Environmental programs; and
- Health and human services (food banks, homeless programs, and independent free clinics).
Grants are awarded to eligible organizations located within the Norfolk Southern Corporation territory that are described under either Section 170 (c)(1) or Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Grants may be awarded for specific projects, including capital projects or for general operating support. In addition to the ineligible organizations listed below, the Foundation does not fund debt retirement, block grants, or projects in which we are asked to be the sole funder.
Applications will not be accepted from:
- Organizations outside Norfolk Southern’s territory
- Organizations that do not have a 501(c)(3) or 170(c)(1) IRS letter
- Individuals or organizations established to help individuals
- Religious affiliated organizations
- Fraternal, social, military, or veterans organizations
- Political or lobbying organizations
- Public or private elementary and secondary schools and PTAs
- Fundraising events, telethons, races, or benefits
- Amateur, civic, or professional sports or athletic organizations, clubs, or activities
- Community or private foundations, or organizations that redistribute aggregated contributions to other eligible organizations
- Disease-related or health-focused organizations
- Mentoring programs
- Boy and Girl Scouts programs or similar organizations
- Animal organizations
- Charities and initiatives based outside the U.S.
- Organizations whose programs have an international and/or national scope
- Civic leagues
- Referral or consulting agencies and organizations
Foundation contributions also are made to United Way agencies within Norfolk Southern's territory. There is no application procedure for these. Contributions are made based on the Norfolk Southern employee population in a given community.
To Apply for a Grant
Grant requests are accepted only through our website. Mailed requests received by the Foundation will not be considered.
Under the Foundation's program of discretionary funding, grant requests are accepted only between July 15 and September 30 for funding in the following calendar year.
Electronic requests must include the following:
- A valid email address
- A valid 501(c)(3) or 170(c)(1) letter from the IRS – tax-exempt status will be electronically verified as part of the on-line application procedure
- A short request outlining objectives of organization, project, and intended use of funds
- Board of Directors listing
- Sources of funding (current and potential)
- Last three years of IRS 990 filings
- Budget for proposed project (if applicable)
- Comprehensive budget for requesting organization
- A valid email address and phone number for application contact
Decisions are made by December 31 for the following year's discretionary funding program. Notification is by email early in the following calendar year. The vice president and executive officer and the executive director are responsible for the interpretation and administration of the Foundation's grant program, and their decision is final.
Please read the Frequently Asked Questions and Grant Guidelines for more details. Questions may be directed to the executive director by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 757-629-2881.
The Norfolk Southern Foundation offers limited sponsorships for certain events in our territory that benefit or promote Norfolk Southern’s business and social interests. Factors considered in sponsorship requests include relationships with charitable organizations, community impact, appropriateness of funding level, and timing of requests. When considering Norfolk Southern as a potential sponsor for events, note that we sell no retail product and have limited interest in naming and exposure opportunities.
The Foundation might differ from other businesses in its determination of what qualifies as a corporate sponsorship. Some events that traditionally are funded through corporate sponsorships are funded by the Foundation through the general Grant Program. Please contact the executive director to inquire about the appropriate funding program for your request.
Although there is no formal deadline for corporate sponsorships, it is suggested that sponsorship requests be made as early as possible before the event.
Sponsorship requests may be submitted by email to the executive director (email@example.com) at any time. Organizations that make direct contact by phone or email, discuss potential requests beforehand, and submit proposals early are more likely to be considered for funding. The Foundation makes no guarantee to review requests submitted by organizations not obtaining pre-approval by the executive director as outlined above. Please refer to Corporate Sponsorship Guidelines for program details.
LOCAL DISCRETION GRANT PROGRAM
The Local Discretion Grant Program is a dedicated small contributions program ($1,000 - $3,000) that promotes community goodwill, diversity, and safety awareness at the local level in each of Norfolk Southern’s 11 operating divisions. This program enables Norfolk Southern to enhance relationships with the communities in which our employees work and live and allows local railroad facilities and employees to share in corporate citizenship. Local Discretion giving supplements rather than replaces the traditional funding programs of the Foundation and enables division representatives to personalize corporate contributions.
Qualifying organizations interested in obtaining Local Discretion Grant funding should make contact with local Norfolk Southern employees with whom they have professional affiliations or connections. The Foundation encourages local division representatives to give back to organizations with which they have working relationships and partnerships. As such, the Foundation does not provide contact numbers for local division representatives. Please refer to Local Discretion Grant Guidelines for program details.