How Booth Ferris Approaches Higher Ed Funding

The Booth Ferris Foundation is well known for its funding of arts, culture, and K-12 education projects in New York City. But this funder also supports higher education projects, as well.

What's more, Booth Ferris' higher education giving has a national scope, in contrast to the rest of its activities, which are New York City-focused. In a recent year, the Booth Ferris Foundation gave $3.16 million to education (K-12 and higher education combined), with higher education-related projects representing about a third of that total.

The funder describes its higher education program as focused on "capacity building" activities. A look at Booth Ferris' higher education giving for a single year revealed that the funder has broad higher education interests, including college and career readiness for high school students, student mentoring models, and support for programs that train future teachers. Some of its grants include:

  • $175,000 to Agnes Scott College in Georgia for a Resource Center for Math and Science
  • $100,000 to the American Museum of Natural History in New York City for capacity building activities related to a Master of Arts in Teaching Program
  • $220,000 to Franklin and Marshall College in Pennsylvania for a Next Generation Leaders mentoring study
  • $150,000 to National Academy Foundation for its College and Career Readiness Initiative
  • $450,000 to Bard College in New York for its Early College High School model

As the Bard, Franklin and Marshall, and Agnes Scott examples indicate, private liberal arts colleges should keep an eye on this funder as a source of support. However, Booth Ferris' guidelines state that it will not support arts-related facilities or programs. The foundation's Arts and Culture program has that area covered. Further, the funder will not support scholarship and endowment funds, or capital projects related to student housing or athletic facilities. It does leave the door open to supporting other capital projects, provided such activities have met at least 50 percent of their fundraising goals.

The funder's interest in college and career readiness activities bridge its higher education and K-12 activities, so organizations outside NYC with college and career readiness programs should keep this funder on their radar.

The application deadline for all funding requests is Feb. 1 of each year.