Distributed April 23, 2003
For Immediate Release

News Service Contact: Mark Nickel

Brown receives two-year, $750,000 grant for advancing innovation

The Atlantic Philanthropies has awarded Brown University a two-year, $750,000 grant in support of academic innovation, particularly pedagogical and curricular initiatives.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Brown University has received a two-year, $750,000 grant from The Atlantic Philanthropies in support of academic innovation. The Atlantic Philanthropies are providing the grant, which will run until January 1, 2005, to encourage pedagogical and curricular initiatives and to recognize President Ruth J. Simmons’ distinguished campus leadership.

“Academic innovation is the lifeblood of any college or university that looks toward the future and attempts to give strategic shape to its programs of research and instruction,” Simmons said. “One of the insidious threats of difficult economic conditions is that innovation may be easily discouraged, that faculty or academic administrators will not develop their new ideas aggressively enough because they believe limited sources of support will always be attended by a lengthy and difficult review process.”

Simmons said the University will use the new grant as a venture fund to encourage development of projects that can improve the curriculum and the work of the faculty.

Since her arrival at Brown in July 2001, Simmons has advanced an ambitious multiyear program of academic enrichment. In February 2002, the Brown Corporation enthusiastically approved the Initiatives for Academic Enrichment, which called for expanding the faculty by 100 additional positions, implementing need-blind undergraduate admissions, creating smaller seminar courses for freshmen and sophomores, and many other steps to improve the Brown experience for faculty, students and staff. In February 2003, the Corporation approved a set of strategic proposals that will go beyond those original Initiatives.

The Atlantic Philanthropies consist of The Atlantic Foundation and The Atlantic Trust, both based in Bermuda; several smaller philanthropies, based principally in the United States and Great Britain; and regional service companies that select and evaluate potential grant recipients and oversee grants once awarded. From 1982 through 2001, The Atlantic Philanthropies distributed $2.5 billion in grants across several areas, including higher education. Until recently, all grants were made anonymously.

The Atlantic Philanthropies are entirely proactive. They identify recipients and promising programs in areas they wish to support and therefore do not accept unsolicited applications for funding.