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Changing the world one scholar at a time: new free resource launches

By Janet Camarena
October 15, 2019

Today’s donors and institutional philanthropists have become more ambitious in their aims to address the world’s most pressing problems. How is this trend affecting the world of scholarship philanthropy? At their core, all scholarships aim to change the lives of recipients for the better. Some donors, however, have been able to leverage scholarships to impact society more broadly, aiming to improve whole institutions, industries, or communities. From increasing diversity, equity, and inclusion to creating an economic engine in struggling communities, scholarship programs can be designed to create positive societal change that extends far beyond the individual recipient.

Today marks the launch of Scholarships for Change, a new website and set of tools designed to help donors increase the impact of scholarship giving. Funded by the Ford and Mellon Foundations, Scholarships for Change provides funding trend data, an interactive grants map, GrantCraft case studies, and a curated knowledge center that together serve to orient, inform, and empower donors with a roadmap to effective scholarship philanthropy.

Though granting scholarships is often one of the first activities of new philanthropists, there has been no publicly available, centralized source of knowledge about who has funded such programs and what those donors have learned. Scholarships for Change fills this gap by pulling together knowledge and data to guide funders in the practice of scholarship grantmaking and tell the story of how philanthropic dollars are supporting transformative scholarships. Scholarship seekers will also benefit from the open access to insights into donor strategies that the platform provides.

Visitors to Scholarships for Change can access:

  • Information about nearly 680,000 scholarships for change between 2006 and the present. A funding map displaying aggregate trend data and scholarship-focused grants with a specific change agenda. Use the Funding Map to identify funding concentrations, funding gaps, key actors in the field, and learn what data trends reveal about the types of desired societal change most frequently addressed by scholarship funders.
  • Lessons and experience of others, seen in a dozen new GrantCraft case studies sharing insights from experienced scholarship funders, including Ford Foundation, Mastercard Foundation, the LeBron James Family Foundation, and Jackie Robinson Foundation.
  • A searchable resource center with research and news providing up-to-date access to available field knowledge about change-oriented scholarships.

Scholarships have the power to create greater access to education, fuel economic mobility, and lift up communities. We invite you to explore and learn from Scholarships for Change and welcome your suggestions for contributions to the site.

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