When an anonymous donor had an opportunity to establish a $15,000 scholarship at a college of his choice, he decided against shunting it to his prestigious and already well-endowed alma mater. He sensed that his gift could pack more punch elsewhere, but was unsure what to look for. In stepped the Fund for American Renewal.
A new resource established by the American Council of Trustees and Alumni, FAR aims to help smaller and mid-level donors who lack the staff of a foundation to identify opportunities for giving on college campuses that reflect their values and will have positive effects. Thanks to a $4.5 million gift from the Diana Davis Spencer Foundation to cover the costs of legal work, technical assistance, and staff time, the service will be free to donors. The entirety of their donation can therefore be directed to the recipients they choose.
With FAR’s assistance, the $15,000 donor arranged for his scholarship to go to the Society of Tocqueville Fellows at Furman University, a program that provides civic education. This donor with a “keen interest in American history, government, and politics” was “happy to find a program that could cultivate students’ deep and thoughtful appreciation and understanding of these areas.”
As a broader alternative, FAR also offers donors a chance to pool their funds with other like-minded givers to support one of five interest areas: science and math, economic literacy, civics and statesmanship, the Western canon, or academic freedom. FAR will seek out opportunities at colleges around the country where the gifts conglomerated for those purposes can be directed to make the greatest difference.
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