Alumni know the value of academic excellence and academic freedom—and they care about their colleges and universities.
Alumni give several billion dollars each year to their alma maters—they are the largest private source of support for higher education. Immune from the pressures of academic politics, they are free to speak up for fundamental academic values. ACTA is working to provide alumni with opportunities to effect positive reforms.
WHAT WE ARE DOING
Helping Donors Achieve Their Philanthropic Objectives
To transform higher education, it is imperative that alumni and donors target their giving to programs that maintain the highest standards of excellence and intellectual integrity. Too often, giving to a school’s general fund or endowment means underwriting an unacceptable status quo of weak curricula, campus speech codes, and administrative bloat. ACTA’s Intelligent Donor’s Guide to College Giving provides step-by-step instructions for donors on how to target their giving and profiles successful gifts. Based on the principle that “it’s your money—you decide how to use it,” the Guidehelps donors to decide what college activities they value most and to support those activities.
Alumni to the Rescue: Funding Oases of Excellence
On campuses all across the country, alternative programs are promoting the study of American history, Western civilization, and the Great Books, even in the absence of a full core curriculum. ACTA’s comprehensive list of over 50 Oases of Excellence provides alumni and donors with a go-to source to learn about the wonderful work these programs are doing. Alumni and donors can follow the programming these oases of excellence are sponsoring on campus and begin to share ideas about how to provide students with the classically liberal educations they deserve. If you are interested in supporting one of these programs or starting a similar one at your alma mater, ACTA is here to help.
Keeping Alumni Apprised of Higher Education Issues
Through our monthly eNewsletter, quarterly newsletter Inside Academe, publications, press releases, and media appearances, ACTA keeps alumni informed about what is really happening on campus.
ACTA’s annual signature event brings together alumni, individual donors and foundations, trustees, and nationwide leaders in higher education to discuss academic excellence, academic freedom, and accountability. Each year, the Roundtable culminates in the presentation of the Philip Merrill Award for Outstanding Contributions to Liberal Arts Education, (link to ATHENA page) which honors individuals who advance liberal arts education, core curricula, and the teaching of Western civilization and American history.
Alumni are college “insiders” outside the walls of the ivory tower. They can play a vital role in ensuring that their alma maters remain true to their highest ideals and distinct characters. But too often, colleges want only donations from alumni—not input about upholding academic standards. ACTA helps alumni groups bring their informed perspective to bear on matters of academic excellence, freedom, and accountability. Several alumni groups have successfully promoted reforms with ACTA’s help. Among those alumni groups are The Society for the College of William & Mary; A Better Colgate; Hamilton Alumni for Governance Reform; Committee for the CUNY Future; Scholars for the University of Chicago; and Dartmouth Alumni for Open Governance. In addition, ACTA has launched ACTA−New England, a group of distinguished professional, business, and education leaders who focus on core curricula, academic freedom, and high academic standards at schools in New England.
Customized Services for Donors: The Fund for Academic Renewal (FAR)
FAR provides donors with assistance on how to ensure that their gifts support academic programs that exemplify the highest academic standards, an unpoliticized approach to education, and commitment to study of the greatest achievements of human civilization, and a critical appreciation of the heritage and principles of a free society. FAR offers an array of choices for giving that fit donors’ varying financial situations and philanthropic objectives. The ACTA board approves grants in furtherance of the mission of ACTA. For further information, contact us.