UPS Foundation and CIC Support Diversity Programs through Grants; State Councils Share Best Practices in Online Conversations

With the awarding of new grants and the development of best practices webinars, CIC has advanced many programs for State Councils in recent months.

First Opportunity Partners Grant Program

The UPS Foundation recently selected CIC for a $100,000 Diversity and Inclusion Program grant to support the First Opportunity Partners program for State Councils. Designed to strengthen collaborative, campus-based projects that address achievement gaps among underserved students, the program will award grants with a matching requirement to State Councils whose projects are selected by CIC.

Examples of past projects include mentoring and scholarships for Black men at Minnesota private colleges; campus tours for Hispanic students at Virginia private colleges; career and peer student mentoring for first-generation students at Illinois private colleges; and matched college savings programs for new majority students in Washington. All 27 CIC State Councils are invited to apply by the September 7, 2020, deadline. The new awards will be announced in late September. For more information, contact Carol Schuler, vice president for State Council programs, at

group photo on steps in front of building
Building on a five-year partnership with Kalamazoo Promise (the nation’s first promise scholarship program), Michigan Colleges Alliance (MCA) is creating a virtual student cohort support system for Promise students attending MCA colleges and universities. The project, Fulfilling the Promise, is set to launch in spring 2021, employing Promise coaches to foster undergraduate peer learning and support on MCA campuses and to provide focused tutorials in life, career, and academic skills development. The initiative is made possible through a CIC First Opportunity Partners Grant to MCA, with financial support to CIC from a UPS Foundation Diversity and Inclusion Program grant. Photo courtesy of Kalamazoo Promise

CIC/UPS Scholarships Grant Program

In July, CIC distributed more than $1.5 million to 27 State Councils through the 2020–2021 CIC/UPS Scholarships grant program that supports student access, equity, and inclusion (see list below). With the grants, the State Councils will provide each of their 531 member institutions with one $3,000 scholarship for a low-income, first-generation, minority, or new American student.

Carol Schuler, vice president for State Council programs, noted, “With this year’s awards, CIC affirms its commitment to underserved students through the scholarships that are given in the name of UPS, whose financial support was the basis for the CIC/UPS Educational Endowment. CIC knows that students and institutions count on this support to make a college education possible for undergraduates with financial need and is pleased to be able to maintain the $3,000 award level established in recent years.”

Since 1985, approximately $60.8 million has been awarded in scholarship grants to CIC State Councils to assist more than 21,700 first-generation, low-income, minority, or new American students at independent colleges across the country.

State Council Recipients of 2020 CIC/UPS Scholarship Program Grants

Alabama Association of Independent Colleges and Universities
Arkansas’ Independent Colleges and Universities
Associated Colleges of Illinois
Association of Independent Colleges and Universities of Pennsylvania
Association of Independent Kentucky Colleges and Universities
Council of Independent Nebraska Colleges Foundation
Florida Independent College Fund
Independent College Fund of Maryland
Independent College Fund of New Jersey
Independent Colleges and Universities of Texas Foundation
Independent Colleges of Indiana
Independent Colleges of Washington
Independent Higher Education of Colorado Fund
Iowa College Foundation
Louisiana Independent College Foundation
Michigan Colleges Alliance
Minnesota Private College Fund
Missouri Colleges Fund
North Carolina Independent Colleges and Universities
North Dakota Independent College Fund
Ohio Foundation of Independent Colleges
Oklahoma Independent Colleges and Universities
Oregon Alliance of Independent Colleges and Universities
South Carolina Independent Colleges and Universities
Virginia Foundation for Independent Colleges
West Virginia Independent Colleges and Universities
Wisconsin Association of Independent Colleges and Universities

CIC/SAGE Scholarships

CIC, in partnership with SAGE Scholars, Inc., recently awarded $25,000 in gap scholarships to students at 25 private colleges and universities that are members of five CIC State Councils: Iowa College Foundation, Michigan Colleges Alliance, Minnesota Private College Fund, Ohio Foundation of Independent Colleges, and Virginia Foundation for Independent Colleges. The scholarships will provide $1,000 in funding to incoming first-year students who need financial assistance with expenses beyond the cost of attendance. Each of the five State Councils chosen by CIC on the basis of their commitment to fundraising for student scholarships will select institutions and students for the individual awards.

Richard Ekman, president of CIC, said, “This is the second year that SAGE Scholars has chosen to partner with CIC on these scholarships. We are most grateful to SAGE founder and president James Johnston for this commitment that will address immediate challenges for students and their families.”

“Development Deep Dive” Online Conversations

With volunteer leadership from the Independent College Fund of New Jersey (ICFNJ), CIC shifted its spring professional development programs for State Councils to three online “Development Deep Dive” conversations that explored communications and marketing strategies, fundraising, and member services. Mary Alice Breuninger, vice president for external relations at ICFNJ, organized and led the conversations in May and June, with support from other State Council executives and CIC staff. The well-received series of online meetings will resume in the fall.