Morgan Stanley Dean Witter Gives Grant To American Indian College Fund

American Indian College Fund
Thursday, 1 February 2001

Denver (February, 2001) - Morgan Stanley Dean Witter has made a grant of $25,000 to the American Indian College Fund, a nonprofit working for 31 American Indian colleges and universities in the United States. This gift is designed to help the College Fund's efforts to assist the tribal institutions and their 26,000 American Indian students nationwide.

Tribal colleges have been called "underfunded miracles" and "economic lifelines" for American Indian communities. The schools were founded by tribes to fight the high rates of poverty and educational failure which afflict Indian people. Located mostly on poor Indian reservations, these colleges created the College Fund to raise desperately needed scholarship and operating monies.

"Morgan Stanley Dean Witter is helping us make the dreams of more American Indian students a reality," said Richard Williams, executive director of the College Fund. "Tribal colleges are creating graduates, skilled workers and community problem-solvers. Where once there was failure, our colleges offer hope."

The tribal colleges are located in 12 Western and Midwestern states. Unemployment in the rural areas the colleges serve can reach 80 percent, and 85 percent of students live at the poverty level. While nearly all American Indian students who leave reservations for public colleges fail to graduate, tribal colleges are reversing this trend. About 90 percent of tribal college graduates find jobs or pursue further education. The tribal colleges credit a mix of accredited academics and Native culture and language courses.

In 2000, the College Fund distributed nearly $4.2 million in scholarships and $7.6 million in other support to the then 31 tribal colleges. This aid directly supported more than 5,500 students. The College Fund also supported endowments and public awareness, as well as college programs in Native cultural preservation and teacher training.

With a flame and feather symbol, the College Fund's credo is "Educating the Mind and Spirit." Operating since 1989, the College Fund has raised a total of more than $90 million from corporations, foundations and some 90,000 individual Americans.

For more information, or to contact American Indian College Fund, see their website at: www.collegefund.org

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