No Metrics Needed: How a Classic Music Devotee’s Years of “Quiet Support” Led to a Huge Gift

No Metrics Needed: How a Classic Music Devotee’s Years of “Quiet Support” Led to a Huge Gift

While fundraisers are increasingly concentrating their efforts on younger and more impact-focused donors, they shouldn’t discount the emotional power of classical music and the giving power of “old world” patrons. For proof, we turn to a big recent gift.

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Far Too Few Rural Americans Attend College. These Funders Want to Change That

Far Too Few Rural Americans Attend College. These Funders Want to Change That

Despite higher ed funders’ surging interest in equity and access, rural students are often overlooked. But thanks to several factors, including engaged donors, universities are stepping up their efforts to recruit and support such students.

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A "Wasted Opportunity?" Unpacking Michael Bloomberg's Mega-Gift to Johns Hopkins

A "Wasted Opportunity?" Unpacking Michael Bloomberg's Mega-Gift to Johns Hopkins

Bloomberg’s $1.8 billion gift to his alma mater has attracted a range of criticisms. We sort through which are fair and which aren’t—and how his detractors miss a central issue in the debate over higher ed and philanthropy.

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Lost Generation: How Can Fundraisers Effectively Engage Debt-Ridden Millennial Alumni?

Lost Generation: How Can Fundraisers Effectively Engage Debt-Ridden Millennial Alumni?

Saddled with student debt, millennial graduates often don’t have extra income to donate to their alma mater. Many are also more drawn to social causes than established institutions. How is this reality reshaping higher ed fundraising?

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The U.S. Faces a Severe Nursing Shortage. Who's Giving to Close the Gap?

The U.S. Faces a Severe Nursing Shortage. Who's Giving to Close the Gap?

The U.S. will need 1.5 million new nurses by 2026 to provide care for retiring baby boomers. Despite this looming public health crisis, philanthropy has been largely tuned out. Can a recent big gift out of D.C. help change the narrative?


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How a Top Foundation is Betting Big on Prison Education and Reentry

How a Top Foundation is Betting Big on Prison Education and Reentry

The Andrew Mellon Foundation has emerged as a leading funder of prison education, seeing such programs as a “public good.” Mellon’s latest big round of grants in this space comes on the heels of a new study showing how such funding can ease reentry.

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Another Huge Gift Finds Donors Responding to Surging Demand for Engineering Grads

Another Huge Gift Finds Donors Responding to Surging Demand for Engineering Grads

Some commentators have argued that funders over-hype the demand for STEM jobs. A recent $100 million gift to UCLA, however, suggests that donors with decades of experience in the engineering field have a very different take.

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As Another Big University Gift Goes Wrong, What Are Some Key Takeaways?

As Another Big University Gift Goes Wrong, What Are Some Key Takeaways?

The saga between the University of Alabama and Hugh Culverhouse Jr. ended with the school returning most of his $26.5 million pledge. But the dust-up points to a future in which hands-on donors and schools increasingly wrangle over how gifts are used.

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“The Next Exciting Phase.” What a Big Science Research Donation Says About Higher Ed Giving

“The Next Exciting Phase.” What a Big Science Research Donation Says About Higher Ed Giving

With donors giving big for trendy areas like data science and artificial intelligence, a gift out of Chicago finds the Pritzker Foundation going against the grain. We dig into its $75 million gift earmarked for the nascent field of molecular engineering.

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Parting Ways: Why a University Wants to Return a Donor’s $21.5 Million Gift

Parting Ways: Why a University Wants to Return a Donor’s $21.5 Million Gift

Saying that donors can’t dictate campus decisions, the University of Alabama is poised to return a major naming gift for its law school from Hugh Culverhouse, Jr. The move comes amid growing scrutiny of how much influence donors wield over universities.

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To Boost Low-Wage Workers, an Influential Funder Turns to Community Colleges

To Boost Low-Wage Workers, an Influential Funder Turns to Community Colleges

A few years back, the Irvine Foundation reorganized itself to empower California's low-income workers. The latest part of this work aims to rev up a key engine of economic mobility, California’s community colleges, as well as the California State University system.

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The Perils of “Easy Money.” Philanthropy's Role in Amplifying—and Fixing—the Student Debt Crisis

The Perils of “Easy Money.” Philanthropy's Role in Amplifying—and Fixing—the Student Debt Crisis

Robert Smith pledged to pay off the loans of Morehouse College’s graduating class, kicking off a national conversation about student debt. Now, how can philanthropy change the received wisdom about administrative costs, capital expenses and tuition hikes?

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In an Era of Tech Regret, Donors Want to Give Computer Science a Conscience

In an Era of Tech Regret, Donors Want to Give Computer Science a Conscience

Society is fed up with the tech industry, and critics include big winners from Silicon Valley. Some leading tech philanthropists are seeking opportunities to course-correct, including a program to ground computer science education with ethics.

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Debt-Free: Five Things to Know About the Billionaire Donor Behind That Morehouse Gift

Debt-Free: Five Things to Know About the Billionaire Donor Behind That Morehouse Gift

Black billionaire Robert F. Smith made headlines this weekend for wiping out the debt of the Morehouse College Class of 2019. But we’ve been keeping tabs on Smith’s exploding philanthropy for a while now. Here’s what to know about one of America’s newest mega-givers.

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Building a Talent Pipeline: Who’s Giving Big for Data Science on Campus?

Building a Talent Pipeline: Who’s Giving Big for Data Science on Campus?

Funder interest in data science shows no signs of abating, and it isn’t just tech funders leading the charge. Given the field’s potential to revolutionize risk management, insurance companies are also digging deep to support data science initiatives.

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Growing its Education Work, a Silicon Valley Funder Looks to Boost the "Whole Family"

Growing its Education Work, a Silicon Valley Funder Looks to Boost the "Whole Family"

The Omidyar Network, a longtime supporter of education abroad, has turned its attention to education needs at home, where it’s taking on both early childhood learning and parents’ post-secondary success. Here’s how things are playing out so far.

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Name and Shame: A New Initiative Tracks Undue Donor Influence at Universities

Name and Shame: A New Initiative Tracks Undue Donor Influence at Universities

The proliferation of "strings-attached" gifts has raised concerns over undue donor influence on campuses. In response, a trio of concerned academics are launching a new database to track “violations of academic norms in financial donations.”

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Dept. of Mega-Gifts: An Alumni Couple Cements Their Philanthropic Legacy

Dept. of Mega-Gifts: An Alumni Couple Cements Their Philanthropic Legacy

After 50 years of support, philanthropists Sidney and Lois Eskenazi recently gave $20 million to their alma mater, Indiana University. The gift underscores how the regional higher ed fundraising boom benefits public universities and the liberal arts.

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All Too Rare: A Gift Underscores a Persistent Lack of Support for Community Colleges

All Too Rare: A Gift Underscores a Persistent Lack of Support for Community Colleges

One of the most vexing issues in higher ed philanthropy right now is how community colleges struggle to raise money. What will it take for donors to give these affordable, diverse, and critically underfunded engines of economic mobility a second look?

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