Harper to endow remaining $9 million from record MacKenzie Scott gift

  • An $18 million gift from philanthropist MacKenzie Scott to Harper College in Palatine has been split up, with half going to student scholarships and the other half going to an endowment.

    An $18 million gift from philanthropist MacKenzie Scott to Harper College in Palatine has been split up, with half going to student scholarships and the other half going to an endowment. Evan Agostini/Invision/AP, March 2018

 
 
Updated 11/9/2021 2:25 PM

Harper College plans to endow half of the record $18 million donation from billionaire philanthropist MacKenzie Scott in hopes of generating investment earnings for initiatives that close equity gaps, assist the community and address basic student needs, officials said.

The college committed the initial $9 million this summer to scholarships for 1,000 students with financial need, covering full tuition, fees and books over a two-year period.

 

Scott's surprise gift of June 15 is the largest received in the Palatine-based community college's 54-year history, and was among more than $2.7 billion given that day to 286 organizations "in categories and communities that have been historically underfunded and overlooked," Scott announced.

Harper's board of trustees next week is expected to approve a fund agreement between the college and the Harper College Educational Foundation that outlines general parameters for how the remaining $9 million will be used; last month, the board agreed to delegate investment of the funds to the foundation.

College officials said the foundation would use a "prudent and sound investment strategy" as it works with an asset management firm that specializes in higher education and invests endowment funds through a diversified approach.

The endowment's rate of return last year was 27%, and the five-year average is 13.6%, officials said.

Beyond the first $9 million dedicated to the Igniting Paths to Success Scholarship in July, the college hasn't yet lined up a specific initiative for how to put the endowed $9 million into use. But officials are discussing a variety of ideas.

by signing up you agree to our terms of service
                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

"We're committed to a framework that aims to close equity gaps, assist the community and address student basic needs," said college spokeswoman Kim Pohl. "That's very much in line with MacKenzie Scott's focus."

Harper was among more than 30 colleges and universities selected for funding by Scott and her advisers. In Illinois, Scott gave $40 million to the University of Illinois-Chicago and $5 million to City Colleges of Chicago's Kennedy-King College.

"Higher education is a proven pathway to opportunity, so we looked for 2- and 4-year institutions successfully educating students who come from communities that have been chronically underserved," Scott wrote in a blog post.

Because of the Scott gift, Harper was able to ramp up the amount of scholarship money awarded this year to close to $10 million. Last year, the college gave out $2 million.

0 Comments
                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 
Article Comments
Guidelines: Keep it civil and on topic; no profanity, vulgarity, slurs or personal attacks. People who harass others or joke about tragedies will be blocked. If a comment violates these standards or our terms of service, click the X in the upper right corner of the comment box. To find our more, read our FAQ.