United States Change Country

Sustaining Communities

Grant Criteria

Empowering Underrepresented Communities

Promoting diverse, equitable and inclusive workforces and communities

  1. Support unmet needs & advocacy for underrepresented communities, through partnerships with regional, national & international nonprofits and non-government organizations (NGOs) that support diverse community groups.
    • Organizations supporting “underrepresented communities” include: racial and ethnic minorities, women, refugees, incarcerated and formerly incarcerated individuals, unhoused and formerly unhoused people, veterans, people with disabilities and members of the LGBTQIA+ community.
  2. Support for programs that provide skills and pathways prepare youth (ages 13 - 30) for long-term success and the future of work. (Including the green economy and tech futures)
    • Programs may include school-based, college, trade school, public service or workforce-related training or mentoring to support the transition to meaningful employment and self-sufficiency for underrepresented populations.

Building Financial Confidence and Resilience

Building financial literacy and success for individuals, families and underrepresented business owners

  1. Support for diverse small business owners and entrepreneurs through our Backing Small initiative including grants, mentoring support, and technical assistance issued through established community partnerships.
  2. Financial education training and mentoring for individuals and families that build financial awareness, fiscal acumen and success, including:
    • School age financial literacy initiatives that provide students with the fundamentals of managing finances (grades 5 – 12).
    • Financial literacy and mentoring for recent graduates or underrepresented individuals entering/re-entering the workforce.
    • Supporting social entrepreneurs with community-focused projects targeting financial accessibility and inclusion.

Advancing Climate Action & Solutions

Addressing climate-related and environmental impact through innovative solutions

  1. Advance nature-based solutions through innovative programs, partnerships and actions that have measurable environmental and social impacts. This includes volunteering opportunities supported through Green2Gether.
  2. Support community-led climate projects and initiatives with a local or global impact, including those led by diverse or underrepresented groups.
  3. Support disaster relief and resilience building through programs and initiatives that create extreme weather-resilient communities and provide either immediate and/or long-term relief to natural and man-made disasters
    • Includes educational and other projects that build capacity of cities and local community members to mitigate impacts of climate change through land management, water stewardship, climate resilience and adaptation.

We particularly encourage:

  • Applications from organizations led by people of color and underrepresented groups.
  • Projects that have multiple or intersecting impacts related to the above criteria.

Strategic Partnerships and Programs

In addition to our grantmaking, American Express is proud of its current strategic partnerships and programs that empower underrepresented communities, build financial confidence and resilience, and advance climate action and solutions. 

Our Philanthropy team has established a series of strategic partners and projects aligned with these priorities. Our partnerships typically involve multiple organizations and prioritize building awareness, community education, or coalition-building to address:

  • multiple thematic or geographic priority areas
  • long-term systemic change objectives
  • colleague engagement
  • support to underrepresented small businesses owners (through established nonprofit partnerships)
  • bespoke programmatic needs where no comparative programs or services exist.

American Express does not actively solicit applications for Strategic Partners. However, we remain interested in learning about new organizations doing good work across our priority issues and in deepening our engagement with eligible existing partners. Please feel free to share your business contact, organizational objective and website via the form below, and our team will contact you if we would like to engage further. Each year between November and January, we will review forms submitted through this portal by non-profit organizations and may approach or seek further information from organizations that align with our priorities. Please note, only one form entered per organization will be considered and we will disregard organizations that submit multiple entries.

Company *
Contact Name + Title *
Email *
Location (City/Country) *
Organization Website *
Tell us a little about your organization and the issues you focus on. [200 words max] *