May 13, 2020 Denver, Colo.— The Henry Luce Foundation granted the American Indian College Fund (the College Fund) $250,000 to provide faculty at tribal colleges and universities (TCUs) with the technology and support they need to make the transition to remote instruction during the Covid-19 crisis. TCUs are located on or near Indian reservations primarily in rural communities serving predominately Native American populations. It is not just Native students but entire Native communities, faculty included, that often lack the technological tools and resources to make the transition to on-line learning.
As the virus outbreak impacted Native communities, the American Indian College Fund was concerned that it has the potential to reverse education attainment. Yet now more than ever educated citizens are needed as health care workers, social workers, teachers, and more.
TCUs are geographically and culturally diverse that share common goals such as integrating cultural values and connection to land into curriculum and pedagogy while emphasizing community outreach and education rooted in tribal identity and practice. In 2017, over 11% of American Indian students studying at a U.S. two-or four-year public or private not-for-profit postsecondary institution attended one of the 35 accredited TCUs. Most TCUs operate much like community colleges while providing culturally and place-based higher education for Native American students and community members.
The link between a TCU education and community progress was shown in The Alumni of Tribal Colleges and Universities Better Their Communities survey report published in September 2019 by Gallup and the American Indian College Fund. The report was the result of a survey of 5,000 American Indian College Fund scholars about the value of an education rooted in Native American values. The results show that 74% of TCU graduates surveyed forged careers serving their communities and societies, TCU graduates (43%) say they are more than twice as likely as American Indian/Alaska Native graduates of non-TCUs (21%) and college graduates nationally (18%) to have had a professor that cared about them as a person and excited them about learning and a mentor that encouraged them, and reported nearly twice as much as graduates nationwide that they are thriving financially, socially, and in their communities and careers.
Thanks to the Henry Luce Foundation’s gift, the College Fund provided TCUs with direct technology and software support such as new laptops, computer upgrades, microphones, cameras, and Internet connectivity as well as support for online teaching, learning, and student engagement, including software, Learning Management System training, and assistance through an institutional online course delivery consultant. As the Covid19 situation continues, TCU faculty are now armed with the tools they need to ensure that their work continues uninterrupted.
“We’re pleased to support the College Fund’s efforts to help tribal colleges continue their critical education work during this very challenging time,” said Sean T. Buffington, Luce Foundation Vice President.
Cheryl Crazy Bull, President and CEO of the American Indian College Fund said, “We deeply appreciate the support of the Henry Luce Foundation in their unique commitment to TCU faculty. Our faculty are often tribal citizens and they are definitely all members of tribal communities, so they experience this crisis in the same ways as their students. The Foundation’s support is uplifting to TCU faculty and the students they educate.”
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 www.collegefund.org.
Reporters: The American Indian College Fund does not use the acronym AICF. On second reference, please use College Fund.