One important purpose served by the annual reports of foundations is to alert readers, and especially potential grantees, to impending changes in grantmaking programs. Each year the Trustees of The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation review its general directions and, if there are good reasons, propose new emphases, suggest that the staff examine fresh opportunities in specified areas, and agree to phase out programs which have achieved their goals or seem less important now than they did earlier. In my view, this recurring process of institutional self-examination is extremely beneficial even if, as is often the case, the main result is to reaffirm existing priorities.
In this report, I will highlight five judgments concerning future directions made by the Foundation during 1995, most of which commit us to strengthening existing areas of activity as well as to some modest shifts in emphasis. As a prelude to that discussion, I want first to mention briefly other continuing activities which have been described in recent annual reports (or will be highlighted in next year's report) and thus are not discussed at any length this year. The back part of the printed annual report contains a list of all grants made during 1995. Also, a Mellon Foundation homepage is now on the Internet (http://www.mellon.org). This homepage contains pointers to information in a variety of forms, including past annual reports and descriptions of current grantmaking programs. In due course, printed annual reports such as this one may come to be seen by some as relics of a day gone by! But we are by no means at that stage, and so I shall press on in the traditional mode.
Ongoing Programmatic Activities
Conservation and the Environment is a field of continuing importance to the Foundation. In 1995 we made appropriations totaling more than $12 million for activities ranging from basic research in below-ground (or "soils") ecology to the training programs of the Organization for Tropical Studies. (See the summary table (pdf), the detailed list of individual grants in the printed annual report, and the program statement.)
Population is another area of long-term interest to the Foundation. Major emphasis is placed on support of leading demographic centers, research on contraception, the development of anthropological demography, and support for a limited number of programs of service delivery (including, most recently, efforts to link family planning to the provision of other reproductive health services, and the establishment of a consortium to promote the provision of reproductive health services in refugee settings).
Doctoral Education and Related Scholarly Activities receive substantial funding and require a great deal of staff time. The Foundation takes pride in supporting the recently established Sawyer Seminars as well as the efforts by a number of leading universities to improve the quality of doctoral programs while simultaneously shortening time-to-degree and reducing attrition.
Liberal Arts Colleges have been encouraged by the Foundation to develop collaborative programs that will enhance their educational quality in cost-effective ways, with particular emphasis given to the use of electronic technologies in teaching (and especially the teaching of foreign languages).
The Mellon Minority Undergraduate Fellowship Program (MMUF), which was described in detail in the 1993 annual report, has completed another highly successful year. We are now developing ways of staying in touch with the MMUF graduates as they move into doctoral programs--which they are doing in substantial numbers.
Immigrant Education and Immigrant Policy Studies continue to be supported along the lines described in detail by Stephanie Bell-Rose in the special section of last year's annual report.
Research in Higher Education is proceeding along lines described a year ago, and we expect that a number of studies supported by the Foundation will be published in 1996, as will studies conducted by staff members. In addition, Foundation staff are now embarked on an ambitious study of matriculants at 32 academically selective colleges and universities. This universe includes institutions that are private and public, large and small, liberal arts colleges and universities, women's colleges, one-time men's colleges, and historically Black colleges and universities.
We are examining the experiences of students who entered college at three points in time: the fall of 1951, the fall of 1976, and the fall of 1989. For the earlier cohorts, this study is expected to lead to a more complete understanding of "outcomes"--including civic involvements as well as employment and educational histories--than has existed heretofore. We expect that the findings will have relevance for a wide range of issues of concern to colleges and universities, including admission policies, affirmative action, changing expectations and experiences of women students, the state of intercollegiate athletics, the evolving contributions of academically selective institutions as "engines" of upward mobility, and, finally, "returns" to private and public investments in this set of colleges and universities.
Judgments Concerning Basic Directions
Needless to say, judgments are made constantly to revise or alter the shape of particular programs, and it would be impossible to catalog all such modifications in any annual report. It is possible, however, to identify five broad judgments that were reached in 1995, some having to do with substantive directions and some with matters that are (at least at this juncture) more procedural in character.
To re-emphasize and strengthen the Foundation's historic commitment to the humanities
This Foundation is well known for its long-term commitment to the humanities. It is widely regarded as the most important single private source of support for this field in the United States--and as the second largest source of support of any kind, after the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). The future of the NEH is hard to predict at this juncture, but some of us are guardedly optimistic that it will survive and continue to do good work. There is no doubt, however, that the programs of the NEH will be trimmed in scale and that some of them will be eliminated altogether. Yet it is wishful thinking to believe that this Foundation, or any private source of support, could somehow "fill the gap" in funding created by the changes occurring at the NEH--even if it sought to do so.
At the same time, the "downsizing" of the NEH, combined with the severe economic problems confronting almost all universities (which comprise, overall, by far the dominant source of financial support for teaching and scholarship in the humanities), has caused our staff and Trustees to ponder with new urgency the role of the Foundation in this area. We have undertaken to review carefully the reach of our current programs, and the special essay in this report, contributed by Richard Ekman, the Secretary of the Foundation and one of our senior program officers, describes in detail the kinds of activities we have been supporting. (Note 1)
As is evident from Mr. Ekman's essay, the range of current grantmaking programs in the humanities is considerable. When the Trustees met last fall to review the overall scope of the Foundation's programs, there was widespread agreement that we should send a strong signal of our intention to remain very active in support of the humanities. This statement is not tantamount to a promise that we will continue every individual initiative at previous levels (or at all), but it is meant to underscore our conviction that the humanities are of great intrinsic importance, and that support of these fields of inquiry is vital to the long-term health of many core institutions of higher learning, including both teaching institutions and entities such as research libraries and museums.
We also reached tentative agreement that in one area we would move without delay to increase the Foundation's level of support: fellowships for individual scholars in the humanities. (The Foundation provides these fellowships indirectly, through grants for this purpose to entities that make such awards; the Foundation makes no awards of its own directly to individuals.) In planning for 1996, we have made provision for additional support of fellowships at carefully chosen centers of advanced study and research. In addition, we intend to step up, at least modestly, our support for postdoctoral initiatives at leading universities and some small number of liberal arts colleges. Some of these postdoctoral fellowships will be awarded as components of the Sawyer Seminars; others will be designed to help colleges and universities enrich curricular offerings in the humanities without creating obligations for faculty expansion that the colleges and universities could not sustain.
To review the directions and emphases of the Foundation's grantmaking in the broad fields of culture and the arts, while reaffirming our long-term interest in these fields
Last fall the Trustees decided that it would be timely to review the Foundation's activities in the broad amalgam of fields known within our precincts as "Culture and the Arts." More specifically, we are speaking primarily of programs which focus on art museums, the field of art conservation, and performing arts institutions. This review, which is ongoing, is being led by a special Trustee committee composed of Frank Rhodes (chairman), Hanna Gray, Charles Ryskamp, and Anne Tatlock. (Note 2)
The question to be explored by the committee is not whether the Foundation will remain active in culture and the arts--it will, without question. Rather, we are interested in thinking carefully about the balance to be sought among various fields and types of programs, and about the ways in which the Foundation's grantmaking can be most effective. The committee intends to examine the societal context within which cultural institutions and the arts function today; the implications of the Foundation's own characteristics (our internal "culture," if you will) for grantmaking strategies; and connections between the Foundation's activities in culture and the arts and its activities in related fields, such as higher education and the support of research libraries and historical societies.
In short, we see this review as a major opportunity to reexamine our activities in culture and the arts in the light of present and prospective circumstances. We want to be sure that our pattern of grantmaking reflects the Foundation's comparative advantages and addresses those needs within the constituent fields which we can meet most effectively.
As already noted, it is the Foundation's practice to review all of its programs periodically. (For example, in 1993 we completed a major review of the program in Conservation and the Environment.) The decision to review Culture and the Arts now was prompted, first, by the evident fact that in these fields, as in the humanities, changes in the funding environment associated with the National Endowments have to be taken into account. In addition, close observers of the performing arts note that several of the constituent fields are undergoing dramatic demographic changes, shifts in audience composition, and changes in the art forms themselves--quite apart from developments at the NEA and NEH.
Finally, the Foundation's program officer in this area, Rachel Bellow, has been awarded a leave of absence to explore the possibility of developing a new initiative, outside the Foundation, designed to facilitate institutional change and adaptation among arts organizations. Before beginning the process of searching for a new program officer (which we do not expect to commence until the summer of 1996, at the earliest), we wanted to recalibrate our collective sense of the highest priorities and best opportunities for effective grantmaking.
While this review is being conducted, we want to avoid a hiatus in grantmaking. To declare "time out" would send the wrong signal and would deny help to worthy entities in need of assistance. Also, we must of course continue to oversee multi-year grants that are already in place and past commitments due for reexamination and possible renewal. Fortunately, J. Kellum Smith, Jr., formerly Vice President of the Foundation and more recently a Senior Advisor, has agreed to serve as interim director of grantmaking in the performing arts. Mr. Smith will be assisted by Elizabeth Breyer, who has worked with Ms. Bellow for the last five years. Angelica Zander Rudenstine, Senior Advisor to the Foundation for museums, is continuing her activities without interruption.
In next year's annual report, I expect to report the conclusions reached by the Trustees following this review process, and our plans for the ongoing administration of grantmaking in these fields at the Foundation. They are as important today as ever they have been, yet their institutional underpinnings are all too vulnerable to changing fads and fluctuating funding patterns.
To increase the Foundation's programmatic investments in South Africa while simultaneously continuing the process of reducing grantmaking in Eastern Europe
To provide context, I should begin by noting that, from its inception, the Foundation has concentrated its grantmaking in the United States. As an inspection of the list of grants made in 1995 will confirm, this continues to be our policy. But the Foundation also makes sizeable grants outside the US, often for purposes consonant with its broader objectives (such as support for libraries and for advanced training in humanistic fields at centers such as I Tatti in Florence, the American Academy in Rome, and the American School of Classical Studies at Athens). As Mr. Ekman indicates in his essay, support has also been provided for a series of library projects in Latin America. The Foundation's program in Conservation and the Environment makes substantial commitments to institutions in other parts of the world, especially Latin America. Similarly, Mellon's Population program has a special focus on Africa and the Middle East. In these categories, we have no budget line for "foreign grants" per se; the amount appropriated in any given year depends on the opportunities and priorities identified by staff members responsible for a wide variety of individual programs.
The situation is somewhat different in Public Affairs. Starting in 1988, the Foundation began to devote more of its resources to public affairs projects addressed explicitly to needs outside the United States. Since then, a series of grants have been made to support the core research functions of several highly regarded public policy centers in South America. An even larger, and more focused, program of grants--now totaling over $40 million--has been directed to institutions and activities in Eastern Europe. (Note 3) The Foundation has worked especially hard to promote library collaborations and business training, and we believe that, as a result of these efforts, a much stronger infrastructure has been developed. As explained in last year's annual report, we are now in the process of reducing our grantmaking in the region. Funding has declined from an annual level of about $8 million in 1993 and 1994 to just over $5 million in 1995; the budget for 1996 is $3 million.
We do not intend to terminate our support of programs in Eastern Europe (or anywhere else) in an abrupt fashion, but we do believe that we have accomplished much of what we set out to do and that it is essential that the Foundation continually redeploy its resources in response to changing needs and opportunities. Thus, in 1996, we will concentrate our grantmaking in Eastern Europe on sustaining and institutionalizing the most promising of the initiatives funded in prior years; we do not expect to make many (if any) "new starts." We do expect to continue to support, for a longer period, the highly successful program of short-term fellowships for humanists from Eastern European countries who wish to spend time at leading centers of scholarship and advanced training located elsewhere in Europe.
Among the many other parts of the world in which our programs could have a beneficial impact, we have decided that a particularly good case can be made for investing more heavily in South Africa. The country itself is of strategic importance throughout its continent--and beyond. Also, even before the dramatic end of apartheid, we believed that the leading "open" universities in South Africa were societal assets of great value, which deserved support as they struggled to defend their academic integrity and to educate a broader range of students in the face of overt hostility from the government of that day. Tensions continue to abound, aspirations outrun resources, and the path forward for South Africa is both far from clear and bound to be anything but smooth; still, absolutely remarkable progress has been made in establishing a multi-racial democracy without civil war. Not many believed that such a transformation was possible at all--never mind at the pace at which it has occurred.
Needless to say, all levels of education in South Africa are in dire need of assistance. We applaud those donors who have decided to focus on elementary and secondary education, which are of critical importance, as well as those who are concerned mainly with enhancing the prospects of the historically disadvantaged institutions at the tertiary level. At the same time, it would be a tragedy if the altogether proper concern for these sectors of education were to lead to the neglect of the great potential contribution of the leading universities--and of their pressing need for support.
Because of the quality of their intellectual resources (unmatched on the continent of Africa), some of the South African universities have the capacity to serve not only the citizens of their own country but also individuals from many other parts of Africa. The education and advanced training of new cadres of leaders has to be a high priority, and it is important to leverage existing institutional strengths. Accordingly, the staff and Trustees have concluded that it is timely to step up the Foundation's efforts to sustain and strengthen the capacity of South Africa's system of higher education to prepare a broad range of students for leadership roles in Africa. In March 1995 two new grants totaling $2.9 million were approved for the University of Cape Town (UCT) and the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits), for the purposes of graduate education, faculty development, and library support.
During the summer of 1995, Adam Kuper, a distinguished South African anthropologist now based in London, visited South Africa and prepared a report summarizing other opportunities for the Foundation in South Africa. Subsequently, the Trustees approved a modest grant to UCT to expand an existing program of fellowships for science and engineering faculty from African universities (which has been supported by the Rockefeller and Carnegie Foundations, among others) so that humanists and social scientists could also be included.
In the longer run, Mr. Kuper has encouraged us to explore other possibilities, including support of library consortia and efforts to establish electronic links between libraries at a wide range of universities and technikons. The Foundation (through the work done by one of its Senior Advisors, Richard Quandt) has gained considerable experience with such projects in Eastern Europe, and, as this report is being written, Mr. Quandt and Thomas Nygren, the program officer at the Foundation with direct responsibility for South Africa, are in South Africa investigating the feasibility of this kind of initiative. It seems clear that facilitating resource sharing through library consortia, and supporting electronic access to literature and other materials not readily available in South Africa, could be of enormous assistance in the provision of advanced training and research.
Undoubtedly other ideas, and other opportunities to enhance advanced training and research (the areas which we have chosen to emphasize), will present themselves. As everyone knows, South Africa has pressing needs of every conceivable kind. Consistent with the principle of comparative advantage, this Foundation will continue to explore ways of "leveraging" expertise that it has or can obtain and to concentrate on those areas of need in South Africa that complement most naturally activities of the Foundation in other parts of the world.
To explore the desirability and feasibility of a new initiative in the refugee field
Intensive activity by staff members in one field sometimes suggests new opportunities of a related kind. The origin of the Foundation's emerging interest in the refugee field was experience gained by Carolyn Makinson, the program officer responsible for the population field, in assessing family planning needs in refugee settings. These needs were found to be all too real; and, in the process of thinking about how to address them, Ms. Makinson became convinced that core issues that confront nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) in the refugee field should be considered more broadly. In brief, the instant pressures to provide food, shelter, and health care are so all-consuming that there is little opportunity, or capacity, for evaluation of modes of operation, analysis, and stock-taking.
Following several discussions with the Trustees, it was decided that perhaps this Foundation could play a useful role by focusing on issues such as training and the establishment of protocols and standards, as well as on analysis of substantive questions such as how best to deliver services to refugees so as to facilitate their return to "normal" life--either through repatriation or through permanent settlement in the country of refuge. It might be possible, we thought, to have a major impact on a field which, sadly, is growing in importance every day. As a next step in gaining an understanding of the realities of refugee settings, Ms. Makinson decided that she should spend six months in Africa looking intensively at programs for Rwandan refugees in Tanzania and for Liberian refugees in Guinea (under the auspices of the International Rescue Committee) and at repatriation efforts in Mozambique (under the auspices of Save the Children).
These trips have confirmed our sense that the Foundation might indeed play a useful role by assisting a few key organizations which provide infrastructure for the field, expanding opportunities for training and research, and, over time, participating in the building of a stronger knowledge base. Initially, at least, we expect to adopt a regional focus and concentrate on Africa. If all goes according to plan, the Trustees will be asked to consider a first set of grants in December 1996.
To transfer the Foundation's Journal Storage Project (JSTOR) to a separate not-for-profit entity and to underwrite its start-up costs
Last year's annual report included a separate section describing the evolution of JSTOR--a Foundation project intended to demonstrate how electronic technologies can serve the interrelated needs of those who publish, store, and use scholarly journals. That section stimulated so much interest and so many inquiries from special groups of readers--representatives of university presses, professional associations, and the growing number of individual scholars and others active in the burgeoning field of scholarly communication--that we are including in this year's annual report a JSTOR "Update" in a separate section.
But I should highlight, in the main text of the annual report, a major organizational decision made by the Trustees in June of 1995. For reasons explained in the Update, this seemed to be the right time for the Foundation to assist in the creation of a not-for-profit entity charged explicitly with carrying forward the activities begun when JSTOR was a Foundation-sponsored demonstration project. This legal transformation has been accomplished and, at their December meeting, the Trustees of the Foundation appropriated $1.5 million to provide working capital for the new, separately incorporated organization (which has retained the "JSTOR" name). JSTOR has recruited an exceedingly able Executive Director, Kevin Guthrie, who was already familiar with this project through his work at the Foundation, and it has also retained the services of Ira Fuchs as Chief Scientist. To provide additional continuity, I am serving on the JSTOR board (initially as chairman) along with another Foundation Trustee, W. Taylor Reveley, III.
William G. Bowen
The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation
140 East 62nd Street
New York, NY 10021