“No Bigger Challenge for Our Planet.” Behind a Campus Gift for Energy Science

“No Bigger Challenge for Our Planet.” Behind a Campus Gift for Energy Science

Even as the effects of climate change have become more visible and devastating, few higher ed donors prioritize this issue. Which is why a $50 million gift to Penn earmarked for research on energy is both anomalous and encouraging.

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A Tale of Two Donors: Disputed Gifts Underscore the Growing Complexity of Higher Ed Fundraising

A Tale of Two Donors: Disputed Gifts Underscore the Growing Complexity of Higher Ed Fundraising

As rank-and-file alumni give at lower levels, and big gifts become more integral to university fundraising plans, we’re seeing an uptick in disputes between aggrieved donors and recipient schools. But these fights can play out in a very different ways.

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"We Always Dream Big." Another Public University Blows Past a Bold Fundraising Goal

"We Always Dream Big." Another Public University Blows Past a Bold Fundraising Goal

It seems like every week brings news of a regional school meeting an ambitious fundraising goal months, if not years, ahead of schedule. This isn’t a coincidence. We dig into a textbook case from Houston, a city with a famously robust philanthropic culture.

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A Force for Good: Why Some Funders are Bullish on Public Interest Technology

A Force for Good: Why Some Funders are Bullish on Public Interest Technology

Warnings about the risks posed by technology have been growing louder and more urgent. But an initiative launched last month imagines a more hopeful future in which technologists advance the public interest. Who’s behind it, and what’s the plan?

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As Millions Flow for Campus Research on Health and AI, What Might Be Some Downsides?

As Millions Flow for Campus Research on Health and AI, What Might Be Some Downsides?

The latest installment in the higher ed artificial intelligence gold rush finds a corporate funder backing new research on health and AI. Other campus donors will likely follow, even as some experts warn that this new technology could exacerbate health inequities.

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On the Edge: A Big Campus Gift Helps Explain Why the L.A. Arts Scene is So Exciting

On the Edge: A Big Campus Gift Helps Explain Why the L.A. Arts Scene is So Exciting

Thanks in part to donor dollars, Los Angeles, according to the New York Times, now has America’s most exciting arts scene. One overlooked driver of the city’s arts boom is alumni support for the arts at universities across the region, including Pomona College.

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Timeless Appeal: Another Alumnus Donor Makes the Case for the Residential College Experience

Timeless Appeal: Another Alumnus Donor Makes the Case for the Residential College Experience

Driven by a potent mix of nostalgia, market demand and the real value of an immersive education, some donors remain enamored with the residential college experience. We dig into the latest big gift to ensure that students can enjoy life on the quad

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Tried and True: Why Financier Mega-Donors Remain Reliable Supporters of the Liberal Arts

Tried and True: Why Financier Mega-Donors Remain Reliable Supporters of the Liberal Arts

It may sound counter-intuitive at first, but some of the biggest patrons for university arts initiatives hail from the world of high finance. A closer look at a $100 million gift to Harvard reveals some conceptual and practical reasons for this.

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Here and Now: Behind the Rise in Giving for University Public Health Initiatives

Here and Now: Behind the Rise in Giving for University Public Health Initiatives

While the impulse of funders to bankroll that next medical breakthrough is as strong as ever, growing health disparities help to explain a surge in giving for campus public health initiatives. We dig into the latest big gift in this burgeoning field.

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In Good Health: Another Campus Gift Finds an Alumni Couple Attuned to Market Demand

In Good Health: Another Campus Gift Finds an Alumni Couple Attuned to Market Demand

The healthcare sector plays a huge role in local economies and American life broadly. Equipped with donor dollars, more universities are looking to get in on the action by creating or expanding health schools. A case in point is a recent big gift to Loyola in Chicago.

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“The Past is Never Dead.” In a Campus Controversy, a Cautionary Tale for Alumni Donors

A trustee and major donor to Gettysburg College resigned after a 38-year-old photo emerged of him dressed as a television character sporting a Nazi armband. With donors facing new scrutiny on highly charged college campuses, should alumni think twice before cutting that next big check?

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Making the Transition: A Gift to Acclimate First-Time Students to an Elite University

Making the Transition: A Gift to Acclimate First-Time Students to an Elite University

While donors are giving big to provide disadvantaged students access to elite colleges, the real work often begins once the student arrives on campus. A big gift to an Ivy League school will scale a successful initiative to help first-gen students adjust to college life.

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Too Much Power? A Closer Look at a Controversy Around Donor Influence on Campus

Too Much Power? A Closer Look at a Controversy Around Donor Influence on Campus

Should a donor have a say in a university's hiring decisions and research priorities? While the answer to this question might seem obvious, St. Louis University has pushed aside criticisms of a $50 million strings-attached gift from a wealthy libertarian benefactor.

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"One Step Closer." What We Can Learn From a Big Campus Gift for a Burgeoning Niche Field

"One Step Closer." What We Can Learn From a Big Campus Gift for a Burgeoning Niche Field

A gift to the University of Florida's law school encapsulates three of the big themes reshaping higher ed: increasingly specialized giving, ambitious multi-billion dollar fundraising campaigns, and the emergence of previously under-the-radar alumni mega-givers.

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Proud Partners: A Reliable Arkansas Arts Funder Keeps the Gifts Flowing

Proud Partners: A Reliable Arkansas Arts Funder Keeps the Gifts Flowing

A recent $20 million gift from the Windgate Foundation to the University of Central Arkansas—the largest in the school’s 111-year history—is another reminder of the stronger philanthropic ecosystems that are emerging in the South.

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A Public University Mega-Gift Raises Questions Concerning Donor Influence and Equity

A Public University Mega-Gift Raises Questions Concerning Donor Influence and Equity

The University of Virginia (UVA) recently netted a $120 million gift—the largest in its 200-year history—for a school of data science. What’s not to love? Quite a bit, it seems, judging by criticisms of the donation.

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