KPMG Foundation Business Higher Ed Initiatives

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The KPMG Foundation:

Creating a Pipeline to Diversity in Business through Higher Education

Since 1968, the KPMG Foundation has been exploring, supporting and developing programs to enhance and improve business higher education. The Foundation seeks to bring about systemic change in business and society-specifically, an increase in the diversity of ideas. That’s why they invest in business education and volunteerism at all levels, over the long term. Their programs aimed at business higher education include competitive faculty research grants, endowed scholarships and professorships, faculty professional development and many others (see side bar history). Their Matching Gift program is used strategically by conducting campus specific campaigns that restrict the aggregate giving to those areas that address the most critical needs of the university business school, and resonate with the passions and interests of the KPMG employees and partners who contribute to the campaigns.

Over 23 years ago, the KPMG Foundation became the creator, primary funder, and driving force behind The PhD Project, one of the most far-reaching and ambitious programs ever conceived to address the under-representation of African-Americans, Hispanic-Americans and Native Americans in business, higher education, and the corporate workforce.  A landmark effort, The PhD Project aims to put more minorities on business school faculties, which will attract more minority students and create greater diversity among future business school graduates thereby increasing the pool of diverse candidates available to employers.

When the PhD Project began in 1994, there were just 294 minority business school professors (1% of all business school professors) in the U. S.  Today, that number has quadrupled to over 1,350 with 270 minority doctoral students on their way to becoming professors, and these numbers are increasing every day. Fewer than 60 of the over 1,600 business programs have a dean that is either African American, Hispanic American or Native American. The PhD Project is addressing that through conducting professional development programs and engagement with search firms.

Because of its success and the obvious, long-term need for such a program, The PhD Project became a separate 501©(3) public charity, with the Foundation continuing to be the lead Sponsor, which includes cash and the cost to provide all of the required administration.  

After creating The PhD Project, the Foundation focused on supporting programs that impacted the flow of minority students to college. Our KPMG Families for Literacy focuses on grades K-3 almost exclusively for disadvantaged students at inner city schools. KPMG’s support for Junior Achievement Finance Park addresses financial literacy at middle schools again with a heavy involvement toward the underserved. The Foundation has supported the National Academies Foundation for many years, where students in under resourced high schools attend career academies while fulfilling standard high school curricula that prepares them for college.

These programs, combined with support of The PhD Project, represent over 40% of the KPMG Foundation’s discretionary grant budget. It is obvious that KPMG and the KPMG Foundation are very serious about diversity.



Over the years, the KPMG Foundation has provided support and direction to a number of initiatives which have greatly impacted business higher education. This list highlights those programs, many of which are still supported by the Foundation.


Foundation Inception
Matching Gift Program

Direct Grants


KPMG Professorships


Research Opportunities in Auditing



Research Fellowships


Doctoral Scholarships
Consortium for Graduate Study in Management


Research Opportunities in International Business Information
Tax Research Opportunities

Faculty Fellowships


Minority Accounting Doctoral Scholarships
Historically Black Colleges and Universities


The PhD Project
The PhD Project Accounting Doctoral Students Association


The PhD Project Information Systems Doctoral Students Association
Points of Light Institute


The PhD Project Finance, Management and Marketing Doctoral Students Associations
Minority Information Systems Doctoral Scholarships

National KPMG Employee Volunteer Program


The PhD Project Association (launched as a 501©(3) Public Charity)


KPMG’s National Audit Case Competition Program


The PhD Project AHEAD – Achieving Higher Education Administration Diversity – is launched to encourage tenured minority faculty to explore positions in administration


National Academy Foundation (NAF)


Junior Achievement Finance Park (JA)


The PhD Project Faculty Alumni Association Sessions added to summer programming


KPMG Families for Literacy

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