The College Donor Digest

In the Know: What the FAR Team is Reading

June 16, 2021

Only midway through the month, June has already been an exciting time for higher education, with the news featuring transformative gifts, insightful publications, and issues of free exchange of ideas. The FAR team identified five informative resources for people interested in giving to colleges and universities: 

“Mackenzie Scott donates hundreds of millions to another surprising list of colleges” in The Washington Post 

MacKenzie Scott has yet again made waves with her generous gifts to higher education. Two hundred and eighty-six charities and institutions received Ms. Scott’s recent round of gifts, including colleges in California and Texas that support underserved populations. Read more about her giving here

Giving USA 2021: The Annual Report on Philanthropy for the Year 2020 

Despite the tumultuous events of the last year, American philanthropy broke records in 2020. The most recent Giving USA report estimates that total charitable giving reached $471.44 billion. Although giving by corporations declined, philanthropy from individuals and foundations has increased to the highest-ever dollar amount. Purchase the full report here

“Humanities Are Shrinking, Except at Community Colleges” in Inside Higher Ed  

Although fewer four-year institutions are awarding degrees in the liberal arts, the humanities are on the rise at community colleges. Community colleges are traditionally known for technical education, but student interest in a strong, liberal arts education is growing. Find the article here.  

The Love of Learning: Seven Dialogues on the Liberal Arts by Margarita Mooney 

Margarita Mooney, executive director of the Scala Foundation and a professor of theology at Princeton University, recently released a book featuring conversations with seven prominent scholars, including Robert George, Elizabeth Corey, and George Harne. The dialogues reveal how each of the professors developed a love of learning through the liberal arts, engaging with ideas of truth, goodness, and beauty. Order the book here

“A Military Appointment at Swarthmore” in Inside Higher Ed 

An internal controversy arose at Swarthmore College when its president, Valerie Smith, announced a partnership with the Chamberlain Project to host a military scholar. Opponents of the partnership are concerned that the president made the decision without faculty support, while some feel that “Swarthmore is endorsing militarism.” Other faculty view the project as a chance to expand the marketplace of ideas on campus and build better understanding between the military and civil society. Read the article here.


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The Fund for Academic Renewal is a program of the American Council of Trustees and Alumni, a not-for-profit, tax-exempt organization as defined by Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. All contributions to FAR are fully tax-deductible to the maximum extent provided by law.