First Report of the College Completion Innovation Fund Released


Melissa Herman


[New York, NY, May 10, 2018]  The College Completion Innovation Fund (CCIF), a unique funding collaborative that spurs innovative practices and policies aimed at boosting completion rates citywide, has published The Power of Pooled Funding to Increase College Graduation Rates in New York City. This comprehensive report details the activities and lessons learned from its first two grantmaking cycles.

The CCIF is managed by Graduate NYC (GNYC), an initiative seeded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and a partner of CUNY and the New York City Department of Education (NYC DOE) in their collective work to significantly improve college readiness and degree completion rates.

The CCIF assembles some of the nation’s leading education funders, including the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation, the ECMC Foundation, the Heckscher Foundation for Children, the Summerfield Foundation, the Jeffrey H. and Shari L. Aronson Family Foundation, the Teagle Foundation, the Altman Foundation, the Carol and Milton Petrie Foundation, Capital One, and the Jewish Foundation for Education of Women. It has distributed more than $1.3 million to colleges and community-based organizations seeking to implement pioneering strategies to increase college graduation rates.

Past grantees include City College, Guttman Community College, Bottom Line, Cypress Hills Local Development Corporation, and NYC Outward Bound Schools. CCIF funding has supported such endeavors as NYC Outward Bound’s use of text “nudges” to increase college enrollment and persistence. Engaging more than 1,300 students during the academic year, this project proved to be a highly-successful method of reaching students when compared to more traditional methods of engagement.

By pooling resources and sharing risk, participating funders are able to launch programs that may have initially been deemed outside of their traditional funding parameters. The opportunity to engage experts from CUNY and the NYC DOE, as well as leading academic researchers, has enabled the CCIF to shape its grantmaking, encouraging applicants to stretch their imaginations and examine their respective problems from new perspectives.

The combination of knowledge and information dissemination, risk distribution, and financial leverage creates a platform for continued optimal collaboration among CCIF member organizations, and an important template for the formation of other collaborative funds.


About the College Completion Innovation Fund

The College Completion Fund is the first collaborative fund focused exclusively on college retention and completion in New York City. It was established in an effort to support both the New York City Department of Education’s Equity & Excellence agenda and The City University of New York’s Strategic Framework as it pertains to increasing college completion rates.

About Graduate NYC

The mission of Graduate NYC is to increase the number of young people in New York City who are graduating from high school prepared to succeed in college, as well as to increase the number of students, both traditional and nontraditional, who ultimately earn college degrees. By scaling promising, high-impact practices and facilitating collaboration between philanthropic, education, and nonprofit institutions, it magnifies the effectiveness of the college access and success sector as a whole.