Higher Education Access and Completion Remains Focus of Private Foundation Dollars 

New York (October 29, 2019) – More than 90% of private foundation survey respondents prioritize grants that promote student access and success, according to a new report released today by the TIAA Institute and Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors. 
“Philanthropy in Higher Education: Priorities and Approaches of Private Foundations” found that this focus on access and completion has had somewhat of a reorienting effect on how foundations perceive higher education and its role in student success as more funders now view colleges and universities as one important step along a path toward individual economic self-sufficiency and sustainability, especially for low-income populations.
Apart from student access and success, four other areas of funding for postsecondary education were also identified by survey respondents – whose foundations range from $1 million to $1 billion in assets:
  • policy, advocacy and system reform;
  • educational activities;
  • campus infrastructure; and
  • institutional stability.
The report found that the majority of the foundations give directly to colleges and universities, while the trend of private foundations giving to networks or consortia of schools continues to be strong. Benefits of direct funding include customization, positive outcomes for students, increased grantee accountability, and access to expertise while benefits of giving to networks or consortia include common needs, efficiency, opportunity for shared learning, experimental approach, and purpose-driven initiatives.
“As foundations continue to seek the best methods for addressing inequality, higher education consistently plays a key role in driving economic mobility,” said Stephanie Bell-Rose, Head of the TIAA Institute. “This report provides foundations with the detailed analysis and insight needed to make sure their grantmaking to colleges and universities is as effective as possible.”
“Colleges and universities share a common goal with private foundations: generating positive outcomes and opportunities for students,” said Amy Holmes, co-author of the report and director at Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors. “This shared purpose unifies the field and inspires funders, administrators, and faculty alike to build a stronger future.”
To view the full report, please click here

About the TIAA Institute

The TIAA Institute helps advance the ways individuals and institutions plan for financial security and organizational effectiveness. The institute conducts in-depth research, provides access to a network of thought leaders, and enables those it serves to anticipate trends, plan future strategies and maximize opportunities for success. For more information about the TIAA Institute, visit www.tiaainstitute.org and follow us on Twitter @TIAAInstitute.

About TIAA

With an award-winning1 track record for consistent investment performance, TIAA (TIAA.org) is the leading provider of financial services in the academic, research, medical, cultural and government fields. TIAA has $1 trillion in assets under management (as of 9/30/20192) and offers a wide range of financial solutions, including investing, banking, advice and education, and retirement services.

About Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors

Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors (RPA) is a nonprofit organization that currently advises on and manages more than $200 million in annual giving by individuals, families, corporations and foundations. Continuing the Rockefeller family’s legacy of thoughtful, effective philanthropy, RPA remains at the forefront of philanthropic growth and innovation, with a diverse team led by experienced grant makers with significant depth of knowledge across the spectrum of issue areas. Founded in 2002, RPA has grown into one of the world’s largest philanthropic service organizations and has facilitated more than $3 billion in grantmaking to nearly 70 countries. RPA also serves as a fiscal sponsor for more than 40 projects, providing governance, management and operational infrastructure to support their charitable purposes. For more information, please visit www.rockpa.org

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1 The Lipper Mixed-Assets Large Fund Award is given to the group with the lowest average decile ranking of three years’ Consistent Return for eligible funds over the three-year period ended 11/30/15 (against 39 fund families), 11/30/16 (36), 11/30/17 (35) and 11/30/18 (35). Note this award pertains to mixed-assets mutual funds within the TIAA-CREF group of mutual funds; other funds distributed by Nuveen Securities were not included. From Thomson Reuters Lipper Awards, © 2019 Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved. Used by permission and protected by the Copyright Laws of the United States. The printing, copying, redistribution, or retransmission of this Content without express written permission is prohibited. Certain funds have fee waivers in effect. Without such waivers ratings could be lower. Past performance does not guarantee future results. For current performance, rankings and prospectuses, please visit the Research and Performance section on TIAA.org. The investment advisory services, strategies and expertise of TIAA Investments, a division of Nuveen, are provided by Teachers Advisors, LLC and TIAA-CREF Investment Management, LLC. TIAA-CREF Individual & Institutional Services, LLC, Teachers Personal Investors Services, Inc., and Nuveen Securities, LLC, Members FINRA and SIPC, distribute securities products.
2 Based on $1.1 trillion of assets under management across Nuveen Investments affiliates and TIAA investment management teams as of 6/30/19.