Carnegie Corporation of New York: Grants for Higher Education

OVERVIEW: As one of the largest foundations in the United States, Carnegie supports education nonprofits, colleges, and K-12 schools through its education program. It has also supported universities through its programs in Higher Education and Research in Africa and International Peace and Security. 

IP TAKE: Carnegie money reaches higher education institutions through several avenues in education and international affairs. However, the foundation rarely approves unsolicited grant applications.

PROFILE: Founded by Andrew Carnegie in 1911 in order to "promote the advancement and diffusion of knowledge and understanding," the Carnegie Corporation is one of the US’s oldest grantmaking institutions. Its programs prioritize "international peace, the advancement of education and knowledge, and the strength of our democracy." It has a variety of programs in four areas: Education, Democracy, Higher Education and Research in Africa, and International Peace and Security.

Carnegie’s Education initiative consists of five “portfolios,” all of which support universities as well as other types of educational institutions:

Leadership and Teaching to Advance Learning aims to improve “the practices, policies, and processes for developing the capacity of people, supporting them to work effectively, and enabling continuous improvement.”

New Designs to Advance Learning supports research that seeks “a new vision of the classroom and the school that promotes students’ intellectual and emotional development through rigorous, personalized study and provides purposeful pathways that offer students multiple opportunities to practice and master the higher order skills and knowledge that enable postsecondary success.”

Public Understanding aims to “increase the engagement of students, families, communities, educators, policymakers, and the general public in supporting an expanded vision of student success and to build public demand for an equitable, high-quality education system.”

Pathways to Postsecondary Success supports broader access to higher education, prioritizing “strategies that support low-income students, students of color, and first-generation college-going students, with the goal of making the promise of “college for all” a meaningful reality.”

Integration, Learning, and Innovation “seeks to increase understanding of the crucial interdependencies among human capital, learning designs, and public awareness and to enable more integrated approaches by schools, districts, states, and others to support student learning.”

Outside of the United States, Carnegie’s Higher Education and Research in Africa program has the broad goal of “enhancing training, research, and retention of academics in select countries of sub-Saharan Africa” through three initiatives. It offers Postdoctoral Support to early-career academics “through new models designed by African educators, that meet the needs of this cohort.” The Diaspora Linkages initiative connects African universities with academics abroad in order to “fill staffing gaps, spur progressive pedagogy, and increase departmental capacity.” Finally Carnegie supports Higher Education Policy and Research, which “supports efforts to generate and disseminate data-driven research and publications on Africa’s higher education sector, and build capacity for research management.”

Grants typically range from $100,000 to $1 million, but may be as large as $3 million. Carnegie has no deadlines and accepts Letters of Inquiry, however it insists that it does not seek and rarely funds unsolicited applications. Review the How to Apply page, especially eligibility requirements, before sending a letter of inquiry.


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