What New Grants to Spelman and Marietta Say About A.V. Davis' Funding Priorities

Private liberal arts colleges and historically black colleges and univerisities have long had a friend in the Arthur Vining Davis Foundations. After all, private higher education is one of the Florida-based foundation's top funding priorities. Recent grants to Spelman College of Atlanta and Marietta College of Ohio reveal much about how Davis approaches higher education funding.

Related: Arthur Vining Davis Foundations - Grants for Higher Education 

This funder gives priority to academically strong four-year private colleges that offer a students a solid grounding in the arts and sciences, rather than concentrating on career and vocational studies. By that measure, Spelman and Marietta are ideal recipients for funding from Davis.

Spelman is a respected, historically black college for women, while Marietta is a small private liberal arts college in Marietta, Ohio.

Spelman recently received $200,000 to support faculty in the computer and information sciences. Marietta, meanwhile, received $200,000 to establish an entrepreneurship program. Davis prefers to fund programs that advance academic quality and establish new practices. Further, the foundation does not give preference to particular disciplines.

Although Davis is a supporter of liberal arts colleges, that does not mean it limits its grantmaking to literature, history, philosophy, and related disciplines. STEM-related grants, such as the Spelman grant, are not new. In the past, for example, Davis has funded electronic learning materials, such as e-textbooks for science courses at Wake Forest University.

Davis also takes an interest in the career prospects of students attending private liberal arts schools, as demonstrated by its commitment to funding an entrepreneurship program at Marietta. Past Davis grants have supported internships and experiential learning for students at Davidson College in North Carolina and career planning at Wooster College in Ohio.

Private liberal arts institutions and historically black colleges that make science and technology fields a part of the education experience, and schools interested in helping students parlay a traditional liberal arts education into a rewarding career should look to the Arthur Vining Davis Foundation as a potential funding partner, as the foundation continues to display an interest in funding a broad array of projects.

Davis grants range in size from $25,000 to $250,000, and the funder accepts proposals in two grant cycles each year. Colleges seeking funding should make sure their financial house is in order first, as Davis prefers proposals from institutions in sound financial condition.