Donald W. Reynolds Foundation: Grants for Higher Education


OVERVIEW: The Donald W. Reynolds Foundation is a long-term supporter of higher education. The foundation has two programs that are relevant to higher education grantseekers in the fields of journalism and geriatrics. Although Reynolds' higher education funding has increased significantly in dollar amount over the last few years, the number of grants awarded has dwindled.

IP TAKE: It can be difficult for first-time grantees to get a foot in the door, but check in on Reynolds for the occasional RFP in its geriatrics program, or consider submitting an unsolicited proposal for a journalism grant (accepted but rarely approved).

PROFILE: The Donald W. Reynolds Foundation was founded in 1954 and seeks to meet “unmet needs and attempting to gain an immediate, transformational impact” in the areas of communities in Arkansas, Nevada and Oklahoma; research into “the fight against atherosclerosis and atherosclerotic heart disease” (listed as being phased out as of late 2015); “better training of physicians in geriatrics” to improve quality of life for the elderly; and “[e]nhancing the quality and integrity of journalism” through training for journalists in “business journalism” and “smaller communities.”

In term of journalism, Reynolds’ flagship project is the Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute at the University of Missouri. In 2004, the institute received $20 million for construction and an additional $24 million for operating support.

Reynolds’ giving in its journalism program is significant, generally more than $10 million annually.  There is one pretty significant caveat, however: the number of grants Reynolds has awarded per annum has been fairly limited, and the majority of its recent funding has been directed to the University of Missouri in support of the Reynolds Institute.

Separately, Reynolds’ Aging and Quality of Life Program works to improve "the quality of life for America’s elderly by preparing physicians to provide better care for frail older people."  As with its other areas, foundation works at the macro-scale and frequently make grants in excess of $10 million to set up entire institutes and schools.

The foundation's campaign to support the elderly began in 1997 with grants to build the Donald W. Reynolds Center on Aging and the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, which recently expanded the Arkansas operation to the Donald W. Reynolds Department of Geriatrics. Funding in Aging and Quality of Life in recent years has been more widely distributed, with nearly three dozen institutions receiving a total of $15 million in one recent year. In addition, many of the funds distributed were part of multi-year grants.

The most comprehensive accounting of recent grants awarded across all areas can be located in the foundation's annual financial reports.

The ability to submit proposals varies by program area. The Aging & Quality of Life program does not accept any unsolicited proposals or requests, but does occasionally release requests for proposals. The Journalism program does accept brief unsolicited proposals (addressed to the attention of the Journalism program), but the foundation states that these “are rarely approved.”


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