College Fund Research

Henry Luce Foundation Grants $250,000 to American Indian College Fund for Two-Year Tribal College Faculty Research Initiative

May 1, 2020

Program to Cultivate Faculty Intellectual Leadership and TCU Capacity

April 30, 2020 Denver, Colo.— The American Indian College Fund (the College Fund) will continue its work to strengthen the leadership at tribal colleges and universities (TCUs) and the institutions they serve in American Indian communities with a two-year, $250,000 grant from The Henry Luce Foundation. The grant will create research opportunities for TCU faculty with the goal of establishing a culture of research across the TCU system of postsecondary institutions serving remote, rural Indian reservations and communities.

TCUs are unique institutions of higher education chartered by tribal governments as sovereign acts of reclaiming higher education for tribal citizens and communities. The majority of TCUs operate much like community colleges while providing culturally and place-based higher education for Native people. Faculty
members tend to carry heavy teaching loads and demanding administrative duties at their institutions, and although they are not expected to conduct research, many TCUs have recognized the need for research projects within and for
TCUs and tribal communities and to grow their own leaders and researchers.

The College Fund responded to this need by developing TCU faculty fellowships. Since 2004, the College Fund has administered faculty fellowships to TCU faculty working toward completing terminal and master’s degrees. The majority of faculty fellows’ research projects have addressed TCU and tribal community needs. Next TCU faculty have voiced a need to publish and disseminate this research to share across the Native higher education system.

The TCU Faculty Research Initiative will continue the work done in partnership with The Henry Luce Foundation in 2018-19, which served 32 TCUs and 93 faculty members. To continue growing the work of the TCUs, expanding faculty and institutional intellectual capacity, and creating leadership opportunities for faculty, the 2019-20 grant will fund four research initiatives, including:

  • Hosting an annual TCU Faculty Research Convening;
  • Publishing the annual TCU Research Journal (TCURJ),
  • Hosting an annual writing retreat for faculty to develop their manuscripts; and
  • Offering professional development stipends for conference attendance.

“We are honored to partner again with the American Indian College Fund to support tribal college and university faculty,” said Sean T. Buffington, Vice President of the Henry Luce Foundation. “TCUs are among indigenous nations’ most important resources; their faculty are teachers and mentors to their students and are also critical knowledge makers and knowledge keepers in their communities. The Luce Foundation is proud to provide these leaders with the resources they need for their essential work.”

Cheryl Crazy Bull, President and CEO of the American Indian College Fund, said “The College Fund appreciates that faculty at our tribal colleges and universities are diverse in how they educate and support students. Among their many talents are their skills with community based, culturally relevant research, writing, and student engagement. We are delighted to partner with the Henry Luce Foundation to continue our shared commitment to building TCU faculty’s capabilities.”

About The Henry Luce Foundation — The Henry Luce Foundation seeks to enrich public discourse by promoting innovative scholarship, cultivating new leaders, and fostering international understanding. The Foundation advances its mission through grantmaking and leadership programs in the fields of Asia, higher education, religion and theology, art, and public policy.

Established in 1936 by Henry R. Luce, the co-founder and editor-in-chief of Time, Inc., the Foundation’s earliest work honored his parents, missionary educators in China. The Foundation’s programs today reflect the value Mr. Luce placed on learning, leadership, and long-term commitment in philanthropy.

About the American Indian College Fund – Founded in 1989, the American Indian College Fund has been the nation’s largest charity supporting Native higher education for 30 years.  The College Fund believes “Education is the answer” and provided $7.72 million in scholarships to 3,900 American Indian students in 2018-19, with nearly 137,000 scholarships and community support totaling over $221.8 million since its inception.  The College Fund also supports a variety of academic and support programs at the nation’s 35 accredited tribal colleges and universities, which are located near Indian reservations, ensuring students have the tools to graduate and succeed in their careers.  The College Fund consistently receives top ratings from independent charity evaluators and is one of the nation’s top 100 charities named to the better Business Bureau’s Wise Giving Alliance. For more information about the American Indian College Fund, please visit

Reporters: The American Indian College Fund does not use the acronym AICF. On second reference, please use College Fund.

Dina Horwedel, 303-430-5350