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Kresge Foundation Joins The Partnership for Higher Education in Africa

General Foundation News

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – The Partnership for Higher Education in Africa is pleased to announce the addition of The Kresge Foundation to its team of partnering foundations.

“We very warmly welcome the Kresge Foundation into the partnership and are delighted with the prospect of working more closely with, and benefiting from, the foundation’s rich grantmaking experience,” says Narciso Matos, executive committee chair for the Partnership and Program Director, African Higher Education, for Carnegie Corporation of New York.

Rip Rapson, Kresge’s new president and CEO, noted that joining the Partnership for Higher Education in Africa expands Kresge’s current commitment in Africa, which is designed to build the private fundraising capacity of South African universities and hospitals. “Because the partnership connects all of the major U.S. foundations that regularly fund African universities,” Rapson said, “joining it offers Kresge the opportunity to collaborate with and learn from peer foundations to help strengthen higher education on the continent. Joining the partnership very much builds upon Kresge’s current work and the broader long-term support for South African higher education we hope to engage in over the next several years.”

The Partnership for Higher Education in Africa was founded in May 2000 by Carnegie Corporation of New York, Ford Foundation, The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, and The Rockefeller Foundation to coordinate the foundations’ support for higher education in Africa. From 2000 through 2005, the partnership foundations contributed more than $150 million to build core capacity and support special initiatives at universities in six African countries: Ghana, Mozambique, Nigeria, South Africa, Tanzania, and Uganda. The main focus of the partnership during the first five years was the development of universities’ physical infrastructure and human and organizational capacity.

On September 16, 2005, then-United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan joined the presidents of the partnering foundations to re-launch the partnership. At the re-launch, two additional foundations, The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation and The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, joined the partnership team and, together, the six foundations pledged a minimum of $200 million through 2010. At that time, Kenya was added to the list of partnership countries. In 2006, Egypt and Madagascar were added to the list of partnership countries, for a total of nine countries.

The Partnership for Higher Education in Africa makes grants in three ways: Each member foundation makes grants in its priority area serving higher education in Africa. In addition, each foundation contributes $200,000 annually to support core partnership activities such as conferences and grant evaluations. Lastly, member foundations pool their resources to fund common Partnership Initiatives. One of the most innovative joint initiatives was a combined $5.4 million grant in 2005 to establish the first bandwidth consortium to supply Internet access to African partner universities. For more information on the Partnership for Higher Education in Africa, visit

The Kresge Foundation was founded in 1924 by Sebastian S. Kresge and is one of the largest foundations in the United States with assets over $3.4 billion. The Foundation is best known for its capacity building challenge grants to nonprofit capital campaigns in the United States, though it has no geographic restrictions on its grantmaking. In 2005, in conjunction with Inyathelo (the South African Institute for Advancement), Kresge began a $10 million, five-year Special Initiative to build the fundraising capacity of South African universities and hospitals. Through its grantmaking programs, the Kresge Foundation seeks to strengthen nonprofit organizations by catalyzing their growth, connecting them to their stakeholders, and challenging greater support through grants.