New report on giving trends of private foundations to higher education


Alliance magazine


Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisers and the TIAA released another report on the giving trends of private foundations to higher education. Their previous report, on the topic, was in 2017. The 2019 report is an expansion on their original analysis. 

The purpose of the most recent report was to revisit results from the 2017 analysis to compare findings and potentially increase understanding of how private foundations give to higher education and in what manner.

According to TIAA, ‘This report expands on that effort by examining a greater variety of foundations in terms of asset size, geographical focus and type. The authors identify private foundations’ educational priorities; the types of institutions they support through grants; and how they approach giving directly to colleges and universities, compared to other types of academic organizations.’

The following shows key results drawn from their assessment:

  1. Private foundations’ top educational interests include access and support for disadvantaged students; career readiness; and support for public institutions, particularly community colleges.
  2. Giving varies by foundation size, with larger foundations more likely to support policy and systemic change across academia.
  3. Most private foundations that give to higher education allocate 25% or less of their educational grant dollars directly to colleges and universities.
  4. The bulk of private foundations’ educational grants go to associations, consortia of schools and other institutions that serve academia broadly.

Read the entire report here.

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