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Aspen Prize guides giving to community colleges

The rigorous Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence is being credited with guiding philanthropist MacKenzie Scott in her recent barrage of giving to higher education institutions.

In a July 21 web post, Goldie Blumenstyk, a senior writer at The Chronicle of Higher Education, voiced a widespread observation in the field that 24 of 30 two-year colleges receiving Scott support over the past year also had won or been finalists for the Aspen Prize at least once in its 10-year history.

The overlap is “almost certainly” not a coincidence, Blumenstyk writes, noting extensive contacts between the Aspen Institute and a nonprofit consultant known to be working with Scott. A Chronicle analysis found that Scott has given $1.5 billion to 62 colleges and universities, including at least $429 million to community colleges.

Blumenstyk writes that she has “admired the Aspen prize for the rigor of its evaluation and its staying power. Now Scott’s own selection process may be another reason to take the contest seriously.”

Read Blumensyk’s post here.

The Joyce Foundation is one of the founding funders of the Aspen Prize, which promotes excellence and reform in the community college sector and spotlights its importance for the nation’s education system. Across the country, community colleges educate half of first-time Latino, Black and low-income college students.

The Foundation continues to support the prize and a related fellowship for aspiring community college leaders.

About The Joyce Foundation

Joyce is a nonpartisan, private foundation that invests in evidence-informed public policies and strategies to advance racial equity and economic mobility for the next generation in the Great Lakes region.

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