Private Higher Education

Support for private colleges and universities is grounded in Arthur Vining Davis’ conviction that “an educated society strengthens democracy through principled, thoughtful and compassionate leadership.”

The Foundations’ philanthropy to private higher education concentrates on private colleges and universities with a primary academic mission in the liberal arts and sciences, rather than career or vocational studies. Applying institutions should exemplify academic quality and financial stability. Proposals from associations and consortia that serve higher education are also welcome. A portion of funding is reserved each year to help support the vitally important work of historically Black colleges and universities, Native American tribal colleges, schools within the Appalachian College Association, and Work College Consortium members.



Brandeis undergraduates contribute to the work of leading researchers and pursue their own interests in labs that promote interdisciplinary collaboration.
Courtesy of Brandeis University

Institutions or organizations applying through the Foundations' Private Higher Education program must meet the following criteria to be competitive for a grant from the Foundations:

  • Eligible institutions must be a private college or university with a primary focus on liberal arts and sciences rather than career or vocational studies.  Associations or consortia serving higher education are also welcome to apply;
  • Institutions must be accredited, four-year, residential institutions; 
  • Institutions must be of strong academic quality and financial stability; and
  • An institution's president must have been in place for one year prior to the Foundations considering a grant request from an institution.  The Foundations will not consider grant requests from institutions undergoing a presidential transition or search.  

The most competitive proposals will emphasize one or more of the following:

  • Leadership development for faculty, students, and senior leaders; 
  • Diversity, inclusion, and support for underserved education constituencies;
  • Interfaith literacy and leadership for curriculum, student, and faculty research;
  • Environmental stewardship and sustainability in research, curriculum, and experience; and
  • Student and faculty intellectual inquiry, including faculty development and support for student-faculty undergraduate research.

Grant Amounts

Private higher education institutions may request planning grants that range from $25,000 up to $100,000, or comprehensive grants up to $250,000 - $300,000.  Click HERE for more information about grant types and amounts.  


When & How to Apply
Please refer to the information in Grantseeking Organizations.

Submitted material related to the grant proposal will not be returned.

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