The College Donor Digest

Talking Philanthropy and Higher Ed at ATHENA

November 05, 2018

Every year for the past decade and a half, the American Council of Trustees and Alumni (FAR’s parent organization) has convened university leaders, faculty, and donors at the ATHENA Roundtable conference. At this year’s event (which transpired on October 12), FAR hosted a panel of experts who discussed ways in which targeted philanthropy can create centers of excellence in higher education.

The panel, moderated by Janet Lorin of Bloomberg News, addressed themes ignited by the day’s earlier panels, including the challenges of academic freedom and the exploding cost of college, and offered solutions powered by donor intervention. Panelists included Andy Carroll, senior program director at Exponent Philanthropy; Erin Hogan, philanthropic market executive at U.S. Trust–Bank of America Private Wealth Management; Elizabeth Kaufer Busch, co-director of the Center for American Studies at Christopher Newport University; and FAR Executive Director Jacqueline Pfeffer Merrill.

During the discussion, Dr. Merrill explained why targeted giving may be the “silver bullet” for making substantive change in higher education: “While some donors are understandably concerned about our colleges and universities today, there has never been a better time to support high-quality, liberal arts programming in higher education.”


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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.