As a growing number of private foundations adopt a social justice agenda, their higher education grants reflect broad societal concerns.
In 2017, Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors and the TIAA Institute conducted a study on trends in private foundation giving to higher education. 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.
- Private foundations' top educational interests include access and support for disadvantaged students; career readiness; and support for public institutions, particularly community colleges.
- Giving varies by foundation size, with larger foundations more likely to support policy and systemic change across academia.
- Most private foundations that give to higher education allocate 25% or less of their educational grant dollars directly to colleges and universities.
- The bulk of private foundations' educational grants go to associations, consortia of schools and other institutions that serve academia broadly.