January 27, 2017
By Mickey Powell
MARTINSVILLE-The New College Institute will have to make changes in the coming months in order to develop. That was the main takeaway from Thursday’s meeting of the board of directors, held in Richmond.
One key change involves funding, as the Harvest Foundation terminated its grant with the school. Harvest put forth a $50 million “challenge grant” to the state in 2004 to encourage NCI to launch a baccalaureate degree-granting school in the Martinsville-Henry County area. Out of that $50 million, the foundation has provided the institute $23.7 million.
In late 2016, Harvest officials said that 12 years was enough time to show progress toward that goal. They gave a deadline of Jan. 31, 2017 and if NCI didn’t have an agreement in place or have proof of sufficient progress toward that goal, the grant funding would be terminated. With no agreement in place or any deal on the horizon, foundation officials withdrew the remaining dollars.
“We don’t fund anything unconditionally,” Harvest Executive Director Allyson Rothrock said in a phone interview after the meeting. She pointed out that NCI is not a university and appears not to be headed in that direction.
But “we want them to succeed,” she said, noting the millions of dollars that Harvest has invested in NCI so far.
“Our doors are not closed to” NCI, Rothrock said. The institute is welcome to apply for Harvest funds in the future, and the foundation will consider the request like it considers requests from other organizations for money to benefit worthwhile health, education and community vitality projects, she said.
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