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Transformational Partnerships Fund

Higher education institutions face a complex set of demographic, social, financial, technological and political challenges that have intensified over the last decade, which have been magnified and accelerated by COVID-19 and the recession. The standard approach of focusing on revenue generation fails to get to the fundamental need for institutions to transform their education and business models, allowing them to sustainably drive student success and social mobility. One way for institutions to reach greater organizational effectiveness, impact and efficiency without losing sight of student needs is to enter into transformational partnerships with other institutions.

Transforming the Next Era of Higher Ed Through Partnerships

Established by ECMC Foundation and SeaChange Capital Partners, with additional founding support from Ascendium Education Group, The Michael & Susan Dell Foundation and The Kresge Foundation, the Transformational Partnerships Fund (TPF) is the first of its kind, providing colleges and universities support to explore student-centric partnerships and collaborations that could meaningfully transform how they operate and enhance their ability to provide reliable, high-quality educational opportunities for students.

The Fund will support public and nonprofit colleges and universities interested in exploring a range of partnerships and collaborations, which may include mergers on the one end to administrative shared services and consolidated programs on the other end. Catalytic grants of up to $100,000 per exploration will be available through the Fund to help schools engage technical assistance providers knowledgeable in law, finance, governance, fundraising, human resources, or other related fields. TPF will also provide free access to relevant resources collected from its advisors, its network, and other third-parties. Institutions seeking assistance can approach the fund with the assurance that all discussions will remain confidential.

Interested in Exploring a Transformational Partnership?

With an initial budget of $2.5 million, the Transformational Partnerships Fund envisions serving as many as 20 pairs of institutions over its first three years and has the capacity to expand the offering if the need arises.

To qualify for support from TPF, one or more of the participating institutions must serve a student population that is at least 25 percent persons of color and/or where 40 percent meet the financial criteria for Pell eligibility. The partnership should also be expected to produce materially better academic outcomes for students attending one or more of the institutions.

The Fund is managed by SeaChange and all inquiries from institutions of higher education should be directed to

Watch the webinar, "It's Not Business as Usual: The Case for Partnerships in Higher Education," presented during the Grantmakers for Education Annual Conference on October 18, 2021.

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As a learning organization, ECMC Foundation prioritizes measurement and evaluation as one of its core values.

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