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The Michael and Susan Dell Foundation


Last Updated: 2016-05-11

At A Glance

The Michael and Susan Dell Foundation

P.O. Box 163867

Austin, TX United States 78716-3867

Telephone: 8002942039


Type of Grantmaker

Independent foundation

Additional Descriptor

  • Celebrity: Business

Financial Data

(yr. ended 2014-12-31)

Assets: $847,293,738

Total giving: $68,675,591






Established in 1999 in TX - Founded by Michael and Susan Dell. Michael Dell is founder and C.E.O. of Dell, Inc., a multinational technology corporation that develops, manufactures, sells, and supports personal computers and other computer-related products. The foundation is a result of the Dell's passion for supporting children’s causes as a way to make an even greater difference in a measurable way, particularly for those children living in urban poverty.

Purpose and Activities

The foundation's mission is to fund initiatives that seek to foster active minds, healthy bodies and a safe environment where children can thrive. It proactively seeks out opportunities to support or develop programs that address five essential focus areas: children's health, education, safety, youth development and early childhood care.

Program Area(s)

The grantmaker has identified the following area(s) of interest:

Childhood Health in India

Many of India‘s more than 250 million school-age children live in urban slums that lack access to clean water, sanitation or basic health supports. Widespread nutritional deficits among these children lead to stunted growth, impaired learning and high rates of absenteeism from school. The foundation believes that addressing these challenges is both necessary and possible. To that end, it supports community and school-based health programs, and clean water and sanitation interventions in cities nationwide.

Childhood Health in South Africa

The program focuses on South African communities where there’s a widespread need to deliver basic services to orphaned and vulnerable children affected by HIV/AIDS. It has also funded a variety of pan-Africa initiatives that provide basic health services including vaccines, and access to clean water, sanitation and better nutrition to specific target communities.

Childhood Health in the US

The program is working to reverse the trend of children suffering from obesity and early onset of Type 2 diabetes through its childhood obesity prevention and wellness programs that promote healthy eating behaviors, and better access to both healthy foods and safe environments for exercise. Other U.S. health initiatives focus on: 1) Applied pediatric research into the origins of chronic diseases that are a leading cause of premature death; 2) Basic health services for under- and uninsured children; and 3) Childhood safety for neglected and abused children.

Dell Scholars Program

The program enables lower-income and underserved students to achieve their greatest potential through higher education. The Dell Scholars Program is offered to high school students participating in an approved AVID program. Each scholar receives $20,000. Candidates are evaluated based on their individual determination to succeed, their stated goals and their demonstrated ability to overcome obstacles and challenges. Students are not evaluated on academic record or test scores alone, rather on their desire to push themselves in terms of curriculum completed and their ability to communicate their determination to overcome the hardships they have faced. The criteria for application include: 1) Graduation from accredited high school this academic year; 2) Participation in approved college-readiness program; 3) Eligible for a Federal Pell Grant and demonstrated need for financial assistance; 4) 2.4 GPA minimum; 5) Determination in overcoming adversity; and 6) Plan to enter bachelor's degree program at an accredited higher education institution upon graduation. Visit URL: for more information.

Dell Young Leaders Program

The legacy of apartheid has created profound discrepancies in educational quality and a vast achievement gap between races. The program seeks to level the playing field for high-potential but disadvantaged students. The foundation works with exceptional students who have a track record of overcoming adversity, and who show the potential to become leaders in their professional lives and communities. The program is currently offered at the University of Cape Town and the University of Pretoria, and the application process is run through the universities and the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation.

Family Economic Stablity

The program help families in India ensure better health and education outcomes for their children by helping them achieve baseline economic stability through support of: 1) Urban microfinance institutions that offer a range of financial tools, including microsavings, micropensions and micromortgages; 2) The implementation of meaningful customer protection standards and protocols to evaluate the financial and social performance indicators of the microfinance programs; 3) High quality vocational training programs that focus on employable skills development among young people who have dropped out of school; and 4) The growth of an affordable housing market in urban India.

Grants to Individuals Program

Scholarships to graduating seniors participating in the foundation's approved college readiness program.

Program-Related Investment

The foundation has made PRIs in the form of equity investments in microfinanace institutions which target urban poor accross India.

Social Perfomrance Indicators

Success in microfinance has been difficult to evaluate. Even though established norms govern the financial side of the equation, historically there has been little discipline around measuring and reporting on social returns. To help close this gap, the foundation supports a variety of initiatives to establish and drive industrywide adoption of objective microfinance social performance indicators. These include: 1) The Progress Out of Poverty index, which tracks a set of standardized metrics designed to assess the social performance of MFIs; 2) The internationally adopted Common Code of Conduct for Microfinance Institutions; 3) Programs that provide clientele with the necessary financial literacy training to be able to assess the quality and relevance of available financial tools; and 4) The establishment of meaningful norms of institutional governance that balance social and financial ROI.

Urban Education in India

To address systemic shortcomings in access to quality schools and improve children’s educational outcomes, the program provides support for: 1) In-school and after-school academic programs that measurably increase student learning levels; 2) Integrated school excellence programs that focus on improving leadership and teacher capabilities and processes, and on improving operations; and 3) High-quality, standardized data and assessment evaluations that enable insights into-and improvement of-student outcomes, instructional quality and school performance. The foundation’s goal using this multifaceted strategy is to ensure that 80 percent of students involved with the programs it supports achieve grade-specific competency by 2018.

Urban Education in South Africa

The program's goal is to ensure that young people from disadvantaged backgrounds are admitted to university, that they graduate and that they obtain long-term employment. The initial investments are in the Dell Young Leaders scholarship program, which provides holistic support to vulnerable South African university students to help them through graduation and beyond.

Urban Education in the US

The foundation believes that the United States educational system is plagued by a persistent achievement gap among students from different economic circumstances, and racial and ethnic backgrounds. To close this gap, improve student performance and increase graduation rates among affected students, the programs focuses on: 1) Performance-driven education; 2) College preparation and completion, including the Dell Scholars Program; 3) Human capital (educator and school leader training); 4) Quality school options; and 5) Academic and after-school programs.

Fields of Interest

  • Abuse prevention
  • Child abuse
  • Child care
  • Child welfare
  • Community and economic development
  • Education
  • Elementary and secondary education
  • Health care administration and financing
  • Infant care
  • Managed care
  • Patient social services
  • School-based health care
  • Youth development
International Interests
  • India
Population Groups
  • Academics
  • Children and youth
  • Economically disadvantaged people
  • Low-income and poor people
  • Students

Financial Data

Year ended 2014-12-31

Assets: $847,293,738 (market value)

Gifts received: $71,121,947

Expenditures: $106,218,883

Total giving: $68,675,591

Qualifying distributions: $117,628,217

Giving activities include:

$1,638,240 for 283 employee matching gifts

$23,709,403 for foundation-administered programs

$6,899,489 for loans/program-related investments