2020 Virtual Foundation Conversation Will Explore ‘Philanthropy and Independent Higher Education’

Exploring the theme “Philanthropy and Independent Higher Education: Trends and Opportunities,” CIC’s 2020 Conversation between Foundation Officers and College and University Presidents will take place on October 19. The event, originally scheduled as an in-person meeting with a modest registration fee in New York City, will instead be offered online and free of charge. By eliminating the time and expense needed for travel, as well as a registration fee, CIC hopes that more member presidents and State Council executives will be able to participate. Please note: Although the event is free of charge, registration is required and only limited spaces remain. Visit the CIC website to reserve a space.

The Foundation Conversation is designed to help college presidents and State Council executives gain a better understanding of how foundations define their grant-making priorities and why they choose to fund certain projects as means of advancing their priorities. It also aims to help foundation leaders learn more about many lesser-known small colleges and how helpful such institutions can be in fulfilling the foundations’ goals.

The ensuing discussion regularly moves well past one in which foundation leaders merely recite their program guidelines and college presidents press their own proposals. “Presidents have found the event to be a great opportunity to interact substantively with leaders from foundations that give generously to higher education, and foundation officers have been able to learn more about the distinctive needs and capabilities of smaller institutions,” remarked David Brailow, CIC vice president for development.

Seven speaker headshots  

Keynote speaker Elizabeth Alexander, president of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, will discuss how the foundation has recently arrived at a new set of strategic commitments. Mariko Silver, president of the Henry Luce Foundation, and Na’ilah Suad Nasir, president of the Spencer Foundation, will discuss funding opportunities for private colleges and universities. Amy Holmes, director of Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, and Michael Murray, president of the Arthur Vining Davis Foundations, will explore trends in philanthropy for independent higher education. In a final panel session, Amelia Bond, president of the St. Louis Community Foundation, and Edward Burger, president of the St. David’s Foundation, will describe the role of regional foundations in philanthropy for higher education. These interactive presentations will be followed by four breakout discussion sessions chaired by Nasir, Murray, Holmes, and Burger.

The October 19 event will take place via Zoom from 9:30 a.m. to 1:15 p.m. EDT. In order to preserve the candid nature of the Foundation Conversation, only CIC member presidents and State Council executives are invited to participate; development and other campus officers may not attend. Registration is available on the CIC website. A recording of the event will be available to those who registered.

CIC/New York Times Presidents Council Meeting Change

Please note: The meeting of the CIC/New York Times Presidents Council, originally scheduled to take place in New York on October 20, 2020, in conjunction with the Foundation Conversation, has been postponed until fall 2021. More information will be available in the spring.