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?


Read More

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.

Read More

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.

Read More

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.

Read More

“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.

Read More

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.

Read More

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.

Read More

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?

Read More

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.

Read More

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.

Read More

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.

Read More

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.

Read More

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.”

Read More

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.

Read More

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?

Read More

“Awestruck.” Behind a Regional Funder's Historic Gift to a Public University's Engineering School

“Awestruck.” Behind a Regional Funder's Historic Gift to a Public University's Engineering School

Even as critics charge that the STEM skills gap is exaggerated, big gifts keep flowing to schools to bolster their STEM programs. Who are the funders behind this endless gusher of cash? And what’s motivating them to make such large donations?

Read More

“Changes are Incremental.” How are Liberal Arts Funders Working to Boost Faculty Diversity?

“Changes are Incremental.” How are Liberal Arts Funders Working to Boost Faculty Diversity?

Despite funders' interest in equity across higher ed, we've seen few major grants earmarked for boosting faculty diversity in the liberal arts. Why is this? And how are some fundraisers integrating this goal within larger diversity and inclusion efforts?

Read More

"What Makes Human Beings Human." A Higher Ed Fundraising Boom is Boosting the Liberal Arts

"What Makes Human Beings Human." A Higher Ed Fundraising Boom is Boosting the Liberal Arts

A gift out of Oregon provides another example of a donor motivated by a bold fundraising campaign, and digging deep for the liberal arts. But even as the cash rolls in, demographic shifts among alumni are pushing schools to recalibrate their pitch for liberal arts initiatives.

Read More