Since the Middle Ages, universities have been support education by donations from wealthy individuals and organizations. Universities’ ambitions today go beyond the ability of governments to finance them. The donation of wealth to others through philanthropy can make a significant contribution to the scientific, social and technological advances that universities seek to achieve.
Philanthropy’s Transformative Education Power
It takes a certain level of professionalism and strategic sophistication to attract and use philanthropy effectively. This is something that was lacking in many countries such as Australia and the UK until recently. Universities must be more sophisticated in how they use donations. They cannot just use them to fill budget gaps. Must use it to transform.
They must also employ more qualified staff and have better systems and processes.
The traditional reliance on government funding has not led to the development of the culture and practices for giving in the US. Private donations are always more important.
Harvard University launched its first fundraising campaign back in 1643. It receives on average A$3.83 millions per day, according to certain measures.
Philanthropic gifts account for around one-third the research budgets at the top universities in the United States. These donations have a greater impact than their financial size would suggest. For example, philanthropic giving funds more long-term and adventurous research. This is particularly important for young, less established researchers.
It has a significant impact. One estimate says that 47 Nobel science award winners have received significant funding from Rockefeller Philanthropy in some form or other. The teaching and accommodation facilities have greatly improved by philanthropy.
What Can We Learn From The Most Successful Universities
The potential for transformation is one of the most important strategic considerations in philanthropy. Philanthropy is not about money. It fails to realize its full potential. Partnerships can be a powerful way to stimulate innovation at universities by establishing deep, ongoing relationships with donors who share the same values.
MIT used the expertise of Mohammed Abdul Latif Jameel to alleviate global poverty in its Abdul Latif World Water and Food Security Lab.
It is also possible to use philanthropy to stimulate important inter-disciplinary initiatives. The Michael Uren Foundation has funded a new center for biomedical engineering at London’s Imperial College. It was a foundational investment for the university’s new research Translation Campus, which links companies and researchers to transform scientific and technological innovation into new products and/or services.
The A$100 million series of direct gifts from Atlantic Philanthropies to The University of Queensland was one of the most prominent examples of transformative Philanthropy. This money was used to create the A$1billion Smart State Institutes such as the Institute of Molecular Bioscience.
University Philanthropy Faces Challenges Education
Universities should be aware of the dangers that hidden agendas by philanthropists can pose to their institutions. The Koch brothers, American philanthropists, used their wealth to promote their libertarian, if not extreme right-wing views.
After it became clear that funds had been received by the Gaddafi Foundation in 2010, the Director of London School of Economics was forced to resign. This was at a time when the son of Libya’s leader was allegedly awarded a ghost-written and plagiarised PhD.
It is possible to seek smaller donations, but this can create problems. Wealth identification services may infringe on alumni’s privacy. Some universities may be perceived as continually asking alumni for money.
These factors emphasize the importance of communicating the goals of philanthropic gift within university education communities and broad acceptance of its value.
The long-term, transformative investment in universities is not compatible with the short-term budget-constrain priorities for governments. Universities that have relied on the public purse for funding for a long time need to diversify their funding sources. They must also hedge against their dependence on international student fees.
Another major source of support is philanthropic giving. It is growing in Australia with major campaigns like the University of Queensland’s Not if, When campaign, but it is dwarf in America by the funds raise there.
There is a lot of competition for funding, even with the most prestigious universities. Oxford and Cambridge both recently ran multi-billion-dollar campaigns. Oxford raised nearly A$3.5 billion, while Cambridge raised almost A$2 billion.