National Venture Fund Grant Program

​The National Venture Fund grant program provides a unique means to strengthen the nation’s independent sector of higher education through its network of State Fund Members. It was established to inspire and fund creative solutions to the needs of independent colleges and universities and to encourage participation in such efforts by foundations, corporations, government agencies, individuals, and other nonprofit organizations.

Funded through the CIC-FIHE Endowment, the mission of the National Venture Fund is to enrich educational opportunities for students and to strengthen programs of the State Funds' member colleges. Grants must be matched (1:1 minimum) by third parties.



​Since the inception of the National Venture Fund program, $4.5 million has been distributed to fund over 100 grant programs. Reported matching funds total $11.7 million, far exceeding the 1:1 required match. This brings the total economic impact of these grant programs to more than $16.2 million. Additionally, ongoing local support for projects seeded by the program surpasses the total reported match.


​Only CIC State Fund Members are eligible to apply for funding from the National Venture Fund. If you work for a private college or university, please contact the State Fund Member in your state.

 Media Activity


 Recently Awarded Grants

Michigan Colleges Alliance (MCA) – Think Independent ($25,000)
Think Independent is a statewide marketing campaign to promote liberal arts learning, debunk myths and build truths about MCA member institutions, and grow affinity among prospective students, current students, and alumni. The initiative invites student prospects to embrace the concept of independence as a personal mantra (“I Am Independent”) and ignite a grassroots conversation about college choice in Michigan. Existing MCA student communication channels and social media are used to develop initial momentum. Current students and young alumni also will play a visible role, with pervasive media outreach supporting each aspect of the effort.

Minnesota Private College Fund (MCF) – DREAM Act Workshop ($10,000)
The Minnesota Prosperity (DREAM) Act, among other provisions, makes state higher education aid available to all students who meet residency requirements, regardless of immigration status, and creates a Minnesota financial aid application specifically for these Minnesota students that de-links federal and state financial aid. The Minnesota Private College Council, through its Community Initiative office, seeks to build upon the momentum started at the August 19, 2013 “DREAM Act Workshop” hosted by MPCC member Augsburg College and to provide mini-grants to MPCC institutions that wish to build their capacity and expertise so that these newly-available financial resources can be best utilized by students attending their institution. Possible uses of these mini-grants include conferences, workshops, and events designed to share best practices among member institutions.

Association of Independent Colleges and Universities of Pennsylvania (AICUP) – College to Career Transition ($5,500)
Carlow University, in partnership with four additional institutions, plans to host a one-day “college to career transition” conference targeted to undergraduate college students. The goal of the conference is to better prepare students for their job or internship search, successful college to workplace transition and career management. In addition to the opportunity to make valuable employer connections, students may attend session topics including resume writing, interviewing, networking, workplace etiquette, salary negotiation and related financial education.

Virginia Foundation for Independent Colleges (VFIC) – Blending Our Future ($30,000)
The VFIC is embarking on a new initiative to incorporate the use of technology in the classroom to enhance the liberal arts experience for VFIC students. The initiative, which the VFIC has been asked by the College Presidents to lead and implement, will support technological innovation in pedagogy as a supplement for in-person teaching to expand and deepen the liberal arts experience for students. The VFIC is requesting support from the CIC National Venture Fund to underwrite costs associated with hosting two workshops to train faculty members on the use of technology in the classroom and to help support faculty-led projects associated with incorporating technology into pedagogy. The faculty grants will be designed to encourage collaboration among faculty at each of the institutions and among all 15 VFIC member institutions.

 Access the Community Site

​Access the RFP and related material for the National Venture Fund grant program on the FIHE Community Site.

 Related Programs