CIC State Councils Update: New Grants Awarded, Scholarship Requirements Streamlined, Conference Registration Opens

​Grants Build Fundraising Capacity at Three State Councils

CIC provided new grants to three State Councils in December 2016 through the competitive Capacity-Building Grant program. The Associated Colleges of Illinois, Ohio Foundation of Independent Colleges, and Virginia Foundation for Independent Colleges received support to help expand their fundraising capacities. The grants do not require matching funds and are offered annually to a select list of State Councils according to a three-year cycle.

“Capacity-Building grants address key operational needs,” said Carol Schuler, CIC’s vice president for State Council Programs. “They help State Councils be more successful fundraisers for their member colleges and universities by offsetting the costs of consultants, new development staff, or marketing materials.” This year’s recipients seek to expand capacity in three distinct areas: prospect development, branding, and grant writing.

  • Associated Colleges of Illinois (ACI) will expand its prospect list of corporations and individual major donors. ACI requested funding to hire a consultant to research, identify, and secure meetings with corporations that invest in higher education; and to host an informational breakfast for wealth advisors to high net-worth families and individuals. The strategy complements ACI’s success in securing support from foundations.

  • Ohio Foundation of Independent Colleges will re-envision its branding strategy and revise messages for its full portfolio of marketing materials, including publications, website content, proposal templates, and other communication needs. The project seeks to reinforce development efforts, increase giving levels, and reinvigorate the approach for making the case for independent higher education in Ohio.

  • Virginia Foundation for Independent Colleges (VFIC) will hire a part-time grant writer/researcher. The goal of creating the position is two-fold: to help VFIC increase support from foundations and to evaluate the potential return of the position on a permanent basis. Specific responsibilities include gathering statistics, writing proposals, and developing a custom database of foundation practices, such as appli​cation deadlines, areas of funding interest, target amounts, and other information that will be used and maintained by the fundraising staff.

CIC Streamlines UPS Scholarship Timeline and Requirements

Based on a survey of State Councils’ practices and with input from the State Council Advisory Committee, CIC is streamlining the annual UPS Scholarship process. The new schedule consolidates some required steps and adjusts deadlines to better align with varied financial aid practices. The core values of the scholarship process, of course, remain the same, according to CIC President Richard Ekman, who notes that stewardship and student outcomes are still essential to the success of the program.

“The thank-you letters that State Councils and member institutions receive from students yield powerful stories of the impact of the UPS Scholarship,” said Ekman. “The UPS Foundation takes great interest in those stories and highlights its relationship with CIC in the Foundation’s annual report. Every thank-you message reminds us of the importance of fundraising for student scholarships. When reports suggest that trends in corporate giving are shifting, the philanthropic spirit of the UPS Foundation endures.”

Details about the revised process were provided to State Councils in January 2017. The next distribution of scholarship funds will occur in July.

scholarship thank you letters scattered across a table 

CIC State Councils 2017 Annual Conference Registration Opens

CIC encourages State Council executives and senior staff to join their network colleagues in Seattle, Washington, for the only conference dedicated to the challenges and rewards of leading State Councils. Open to State Council executives, development officers, communication and marketing directors, and other administrative staff, the conference will unearth “Golden Opportunities” to increase scholarship fundraising, build corporate relationships, intensify collaboration, and strengthen advocacy. The program will take place April 30–May 2 at the Crowne Plaza Seattle Downtown.

View program and registration information. Early-bird rates apply until March 20. For more program information, contact Carol Schuler at For questions about travel and hotel arrangements​, contact Vanessa Long, manager of State Council P​rograms, at