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National Foundation Announces Ambitious Commitment to Erasing College Outcome Disparities by 2040

ECMC Foundation will increase grantmaking and expand its geographic footprint, focusing on eliminating racial, geographic, and economic gaps in postsecondary completion.

April 03, 2024

LOS ANGELES -- ECMC Foundation, one of the nation’s largest higher education philanthropies, has revealed an ambitious, new “North Star,” which will guide the Foundation’s work and grantmaking over the next decade and beyond. The Foundation will direct all of its philanthropic effort toward its new commitment to eliminate racial, geographic, socioeconomic, and other disparities in postsecondary completion by 2040.

“Creating equal opportunity for students to access the starting line to postsecondary education has always been a noble goal, but it is ultimately insufficient. A growing number of institutions are already lighting a path forward, and their outcomes—and greater access to data on what’s working—give us conviction that by 2040, equity in college completion is an achievable goal," said Jacob Fraire, president of ECMC Foundation. “We’re making our ambition public to invite both accountability and the sort of cross-sector collaboration that success will demand. In the decade ahead, we will measure all of our investments according to this 2040 goal.”

Despite growing skepticism about the value of a four-year degree, graduates on average earn more than their peers who do not attain a college credential. The benefits of education and training beyond high school also extend well beyond economics: postsecondary completion offers substantial health and social benefits, including lower unemployment rates and longer life expectancy. Still, more than 40 million adults across the nation have enrolled in college, only to leave before completing their credential—a significant loss for millions of Americans and the national economy. 

“We are determined to create a future state in which colleges and universities graduate all students at the same rate, regardless of their age, race or economic background,” said Fraire. “This work will be difficult and require sustained support from policymakers, philanthropy and the business community—and for institutions and systems to embrace a long-term commitment to reform.”

To help support these reforms, ECMC Foundation will take a three-pronged approach to its grantmaking, with an emphasis on programs that remove barriers to college completion; build the capacity of postsecondary organizations, institutions and systems; and support large-scale, cross-sector collaborations that can transform the postsecondary ecosystem. 

In 2024, the Foundation will increase its grantmaking to approximately $64 million and will also open a new office in Washington, D.C. with grantmaking and communications staff—as well as a new policy team. The Foundation’s new policy team will help broaden the organization’s efforts to support underserved learners, working in concert with the grants and program-related investments teams to optimize alignment and impact.

For more information about ECMC Foundation and the North Star, visit


About ECMC Foundation: ECMC Foundation is a national, private foundation whose North Star goal is to eliminate equity gaps in postsecondary completion by 2040. The Foundation’s mission is to improve higher education for career success among underserved populations through evidence-based innovation. ECMC Foundation makes strategic grants and program-related investments to support both nonprofit and for-profit ventures, guided by a strategic framework which aims to advance systemic change by removing barriers to postsecondary completion; building the capacity of organizations, institutions and systems; and transforming the postsecondary ecosystem. Learn more about ECMC Foundation by visiting and our parent company, ECMC Group, by visiting

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