A casual glance at past grants will make clear that the Florida-based Arthur Vining Davis Foundations are big believers in the quality of education you can get at any one of the private liberal arts colleges across the country. Davis would like you to know about the value of these respected institutions as well, and the funder just committed $200,000 to a campaign designed to do just that.
The Davis grant is going to the Council for Independent Colleges (CIC) for its public information campaign, "Securing America's Future." The campaign is designed to educate the public about the value, educational quality, and strength of the nation's private liberal arts colleges.
CIC is an association of nonprofit independent liberal arts colleges. Since 1956, the organization has worked to support college leadership, promote institutional excellence, and improve the public understanding of private higher education’s contributions to American society.
With funding from Davis, CIC hopes to produce data and research that will dispel stereotypes about independent liberal arts colleges.
Of course, if you did bong hits for four years with other rich kids while nailing that art history degree, you may not see the problem here as stereotyping. But seriously: Davis and CIC would like you to know that these schools are not snooty bastions of elitism, turning out future academics and bohemian intellectuals erudite in literature and philosophy but with few job prospects in today's technologically driven economy.
Accordng to CIC, these institutions are more likely to enroll and graduate low-income and first-generation college students. What's more, their students are more likely to graduate college on time and with lower levels of debt. And by the way, many of these graduates go on to pursue successful STEM careers.
CIC's public interest campaign is just the sort of work the Davis Foundations likes to fund. While many funders with higher education programs shower thousands, if not millions, of dollars on the nation's top-tier research universities, Davis seems to be the funder of choice for independent liberal arts schools and historically black colleges (see my post on Davis' recent grant to Spelman college). This is why schools such as these should keep Davis on their radar.