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Ascendium in the News March 17, 2021

The Edge: Could These New Grants End the Taboo Over Mergers and Partnerships?

Source: Chronicle of Higher Education
Author: Goldie Blumenstyk

I’m Goldie Blumenstyk, a senior writer at The Chronicle covering innovation in and around academe. Here’s what I’m thinking about this week.

These new grants could seed the ground for more partnerships.

A new $2.5-million grant program — financed by three foundations and being announced today — will provide money to help colleges explore a host of “transformational partnerships,” including mergers, aimed at improving academic outcomes for students.

OK, that’s the news. But there’s a lot more here that’s interesting and — if executed well (yeah, that “if” is no sure thing) — useful to a broader swath of higher ed, beyond the grantees themselves.

But first, a few more basics. This Transformational Partnerships Fund was created by the ECMC Foundation, which put up the initial $1.5 million, and a nonprofit consultancy called SeaChange Capital Partners, which manages five similar grant and lending funds for nonprofits. Ascendium Education Group and the Kresge Foundation kicked in $500,000 each.

The grants themselves will be relatively small: up to $100,000. That’s more than enough for, say, a real estate market analysis or a technical evaluation of a software system, but it won’t cover the planning costs of a major partnership or merger. The grant size is deliberate, to get creative discussions started, Lynn Alvarez, vice president for programs and strategy at ECMC Foundation, told me. “This is kind of the dating phase.”

Read the full article here.

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