$25 Million Grant Donated to The Furman Advantage
The Duke Endowment donates $25 million to further The Furman Advantage's mission.
With the newest grant, the university plans to grow the funding of internships and need-based study away programs for more students.
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In an email sent to students and staff on Mar. 22, President Davis announced the Duke Endowment’s donation of a $25 million grant to Furman University. The grant went into the Furman Advantage fund in order to advance the program.
The Duke Endowment is a private foundation dedicated towards raising charity funds for various North and South Carolina programs. Since its founding in 1924 by James B. Duke, the institution has raised more than $4 billion in grants for higher education, health care, rural churches, and children’s welfare. In addition to aiding organizations, The Duke Endowment improves its own performance by consistently publishing information and evaluations about the various organizations on its website.
The Endowment originally donated $25 million when the Furman Advantage was first introduced in 2016, along with an additional $2.5 million to help assess its impact. Since then, the program has become a major selling point for the university.
The Furman Advantage is dedicated to creating unique and innovative ways for students learning, both inside and outside the classroom, and assisting students create pathways for themselves post-graduation. Essentially, The Furman Advantage is meant to create a meaningful experience for every student attending the university. With the most recent donation, the Duke Endowment’s total grants to the program equal $52.5 million; this new donation specifically expands the fund’s significance in regard to Furman’s lifestyle.
With the newest grant, the university plans to grow the funding of internships and need-based study away programs for more students. In the original email announcement, the university also shared its intention to increase participation in engaged learning experiences.
Sophomore Caroline Singleton believes the donation is an exciting opportunity for Furman and said, “The ability for Furman to extend the advantage to all students is something the university prides itself on.” Singleton added that once people begin to realize how incredible that is, “they begin to realize how crucial things like the Duke Endowment become to maintaining things like un-paid research and internship funding, and fellowships.”
Other students are still confused as to what the program will specifically do with the full amount, regardless of what benefits and accolades The Furman Advantage provides the university. Senior Megan Jamieson said, “I’m graduating in a month, and I still don’t know what The Furman Advantage is.” Freshman Roxy Stefanacci said “What even is The Furman Advantage? Is the money going to further construction on campus that none of us want to deal with? I feel like we aren’t going to see any of that money.” Sophomore Jordyn Sutton shares similar sentiments as Stefanacci and said, “I think the $25 million probably won’t be used for students, but more for COVID recovery due to Furman’s lack of income.”
Although the funding is slated to go towards “something truly special in higher education,” students remain speculative exactly where the grant will be allocated. As the email states, “Furman developed The Furman Advantage in the same way the university encourages its students to approach learning and life.” Students hope the grant will be put towards its intended purpose, but some believe that without transparent proof and a clear, universal definition of the Furman Advantage, they cannot be sure where the $25 million will go.