“A Built-In Advantage.” Why U.S. Universities are Looking Across the Atlantic to British Foundations

“A Built-In Advantage.” Why U.S. Universities are Looking Across the Atlantic to British Foundations

British foundations gave approximately $125 million to North American universities between 2014-2018, far more than their publicly funded European counterparts. Is this a new and promising frontier for American higher ed fundraisers?

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With Donor Support, a Regional University Looks to be a Leader in Coastal Resiliency

With Donor Support, a Regional University Looks to be a Leader in Coastal Resiliency

While funders are giving to help communities adapt to climate change, support rarely flows to universities. A gift in Virginia shows that this may be starting to change as more coastal schools and their donors look to address growing threats.

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A Campus Gift to Boost Women in the Arts is a Big Deal for a Small School

A Campus Gift to Boost Women in the Arts is a Big Deal for a Small School

Universities haven’t done enough to recruit and support women with an interest in art and design, particularly those from modest economic backgrounds. With a major gift, a billionaire couple is helping a school in Philadelphia expand access.

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Epstein, Science, and the Power of Saying No to Money

Epstein, Science, and the Power of Saying No to Money

We often idealize science as insulated from matters of power and corruption. Jeffrey Epstein’s ties to research institutions and scientists are a reminder that the way we fund science holds meaning and consequences. 

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"Freeing Minds.” A Closer Look at St. John's Bid to Cut Tuition—and Why Donors Are All In

"Freeing Minds.” A Closer Look at St. John's Bid to Cut Tuition—and Why Donors Are All In

Starting this year, St. John’s College is  lowering tuition dramatically. The move is part of a carefully orchestrated campaign to buck prevailing trends and is made possible by some donors with deep pockets. Here’s the inside story.

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From the Courts to the Green: Why an NBA Star Brought Golf to Howard University

From the Courts to the Green: Why an NBA Star Brought Golf to Howard University

Warriors basketball superstar Stephen Curry’s growing philanthropy includes a seven-figure donation to launch a golf program at Howard University. The gift fits into his larger vision of using sports to advance equity and inclusion.

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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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