The Real Estate and Casino Billionaire Giving Big to Higher Ed

Chicago real estate and casino magnate, Neil Bluhm, established the Bluhm Family Charitable Foundation in 2007, and at the age of 76, Neil Bluhm has an estimated net worth of $2.5 billion. He made headlines last year with a $25 million grant to Northwestern, and his philanthropic pursuits focus on higher ed.
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Two Cheers for the Lumina Foundation from NCRP

In its evaluation of the Lumina Foundation for Education, NCRP found a highly focused foundation that’s staying on track with savvy policy advocacy and a well-respected staff. However, nobody’s perfect. Here's what Lumina needs to do to reach its higher education goals by 2025.
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More Electricians, Please: Charles Koch Turns to Vocational Training

The Charles Koch Foundation handles most of the brothers’ contested involvement in higher education. Until now, they have dealt mostly with university economics and business departments. Late last month, however, Charles Koch told Wichita Business Journal about his foundation’s new interest in promoting postsecondary vocational education.
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Can Koch Money Come To Campus Without a Fight? Ask Catholic University

Foundations controlled by the Koch brothers are major donors to colleges and universities. But before going after this money, it's worth considering the headaches that may ensue. A case in point: Catholic University of America’s business and economics school recently accepted a $1 million grant from the Charles Koch Foundation -- only to find itself embroiled in controversy.
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Lumina Foundation's Creation Myth and What We Need to Know About Foundations More Generally

It's a facts-weirder-than-fiction scenario. Lumina Foundation wasn't birthed out of god's head; it didn't fly to earth in a Douglas C-68. Rather, in the year 2000 A.D., Sallie Mae bought the nation's largest student loan guarantor from its umbrella company, USA Group, which in turn founded Lumina on the proceeds.
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Foundations vs. the Credit Hour

Know who's got a lot of time to spend sitting in college classes? Rich people. Know who doesn't? Poor people. Several prominent higher education foundations­­–Lumina and Carnegie to name two–have for this reason grown suspicious of the credit hour.

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Pickens Reins in His Risky Philanthropy

It's tough to make bad investments after you're dead. Maybe that's why T. Boone Pickens this month wrote a $20 million gift for Wilmer Eye Institute of John Hopkins University into his will. This is great news. Pickens' hare-brained fiscal steering ended his last major charitable liaison at Oklahoma State University (OSU) in catastrophe.

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Why Lumina's Worried About the Quality of Academic Credentials

Lumina Foundation's main agenda point, to "increase the proportion of Americans with high-quality degrees and credentials to 60 percent by the year 2025," is well constructed. There’s no immediately obvious way of labeling this a bad idea. But what if the effort lands 59% of people with associate's degrees in Video Game Appreciation?
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Here's How Jeanne and Anthony Pritzker Are Boosting Urban Sustainability

Jeanne and Anthony Pritzker this September announced $15 million gift to UCLA in support of urban sustainability research. The money will go into endowments to finance five new chairs at UCLA's Institute of the Environment and Sustainability (IoES), the single most expensive which is the $5 million Pritzker Distinguished Chair in Environment and Sustainability, an annual $100,000 Pulitzker Sustainability Prize and an annual sustainability research symposium in compliment.

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What You Don't Know About the Park Foundation

The Park Foundation Friday announced a $50 million gift to North Carolina State University (NCSU) for scholarships. The school intends to match the foundation's gift by raise an addition $100 million over the next few years. During this challenging economic time when our university has experienced significant budget cuts, this leadership gift is especially meaningful,” NCSU Chancellor Randy Woodson told WRal.com.

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Will Ford Foundation Rekindle Its Affair with Public Interest Law?

Walter Olson wrote an excellent analysis of how the Ford Foundation has used law schools to advance leftist politics over the past century: a practice to which he acridly refers as “public interest law.” Needless to say the Cato Institute Senior Fellow finds it detestable; I personally can’t think of a better use for foundation money.

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Here's Mellon Foundation's New Scheme to Get Humanities and Performing Arts to Schmooze

Imagine Mellon Foundation is friendly with both the performing arts and the humanities. While the foundation always has fun hanging out with these two disciplines individually, Mellon can't help but lament the fact that the two of them would also have a great time with eachother if they ever met. Consider Arts on Campus the foundation's attempt to entice these two borderline agoraphobes out of the house and fix them up on a friend date.
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Why the Templeton Foundation Pays to Keep Psychology Positive

Ever wondered why psychology’s always got to be such a downer? Aren’t these people ever curious about how puppy dogs and fuzzy bunnies so consistently trigger the cuteness response? Why does orange juice taste so darn good? If you’ve ever asked yourself such questions, you’re already half way to landing a Templeton grant.

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What's Behind the Gates Foundation's Push for Competency-Based Learning?

In vogue currently among name brand higher education funders like Gates, Lumina and Kresge is the notion of competency-based learning. I’ll here focus primarily on Gates’ relationship with the idea, and how they throw their money at it.
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How to Get Doctors Up to Speed with Geriatrics

The Donald W. Reynolds Foundation has committed $1 million to University of Utah Health Science Center to better train physicians in geriatrics. Along with nine other training sites, University of Utah won funding as part of Reynolds' "Next Steps in Physicians' Training in Geriatrics Program."

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How Do We Offset Private Liberal Arts Colleges' Rich-Kid Bias?

Though private liberal arts colleges (PLACs) are spending less on their students’ educations than they have in the past, they favor those who can pay more it. A recent working paper found that the "total cost per student also declined by 4.5 percent per year from 2008 to 2011" at PLACs. But this is what makes the Arthur Vining Davis Foundations' grantmaking really cool.

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