A Look at the Sarah Scaife Foundation's Higher Ed Grantmaking

The Sarah Scaife Foundation is one of several philanthropic vehicles associated with the late Richard Mellon Scaife, and it's set to expand dramatically, thanks to a bequest from Scaife.

Scaife attended Deerfield Academy, Yale University, and the University of Pittsburgh. He had a personal fortune of $1.4 billion in 2013 according to Forbes, and was a principal heir to the Mellon banking, oil, and aluminum fortune. 

In life, Richard Scaife was a prolific funder of conservative causes, and was a major early supporter of the Heritage Foundation. Over the years, Scaife supported outfits like the Hoover Institution and the American Enterprise Institute. A look at recent grantmaking out of the Scaife Foundation still tells the story of a number of different policy shops receiving support, but an element of Scaife's philanthropy also involves higher education.

Scaife's alma mater, the University of Pittsburgh, has received millions, but most of this money has come through another Scaife vehicle, the Scaife Family Foundation. However, here are a few things to know about the Sarah Scaife Foundation's higher education philanthropy:

1. Scaife Has Supported Public Policy at Colleges and Universities

The Hoover Institution at Stanford University has received at least $9 million from Scaife since 1990, and about $1.4 million since 2009. Hoover's mission includes principles such as "representative government, private enterprise, peace, and personal freedom." Senior fellows at the institution have included Condoleezza Rice, economist Thomas Sowell, and author Shelby Steele.

A $200,000 grant recently went to Carnegie Mellon University toward public policy studies, and $140,000 recently went to the Missouri State University Foundation towards the school's Department of Defense and Strategic Studies. It's worth noting that Missouri State University’s Department of Defense and Strategic Studies is located in the Washington D.C. area, and provides graduate-level study in fields such as cyber security, foreign policy, and defense policy analysis.

2. Scaife Is Also Interested in Law and Economics

Tufts University's Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy received nearly $400,000 in 2013, and University of Chicago's Coase-Sandor Institute for Law and Economics has been supported as well. The University of Virginia Law School Foundation, meanwhile, received $325,000 recently.

3. There's a Lot More Money Waiting in the Wings

As we recently reported, the Scaife Foundation's assets are are dramatically expanding thanks to a bequest from Scaife. While the foundation's bread and butter might be supporting policy centers and institutes, some good chunks of money have gone to colleges and universities operating within this space as well, particularly the Hoover Institution.

Related: Sarah Scaife Foundation Grants for Higher Education