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Philanthropy in Higher Education: Priorities and Approaches of Private Foundations

October 28, 2019

Download the publication here.

Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors partnered with the TIAA Institute to examine trends in private foundations giving to colleges and universities to support their postsecondary education strategies. This report is an expansion of a similar report published in 2017, titled Achieving Success in Postsecondary Education: Trends in Philanthropy (Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors and TIAA Institute 2017).

The 2017 report included quantitative data about grants from private foundations to institutions of higher education between 2004 and 2013, derived from custom data sets from the Foundation Center and the Council for Aid to Education. It also included qualitative trends gath-ered from interviews with five private foundations giving substantially to colleges and universities (the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Ford Foundation, Lumina Foundation, Kresge Foundation, and Andrew W. Mellon Foundation), the Grantmakers for Education affinity group, and the University of Pennsylvania’s Center for Minority-Serving Institutions.

This current report seeks to expand and test the trends discussed in the 2017 report by including foundations more varied in asset size, geographical focus, and type. Our goal was to better capture the diversity of private foundations that support postsecondary education to gain a deeper understanding of:

  • Priority issue areas in higher education that foundations seek to address.
  • The types of institutions foundations support through grants in their postsecondary strategies, and why.
  • How foundations approach giving to colleges and universities compared to how they give to other types of educational organizations.

Click here to read the full report.

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