The Intelligent Donor’s Guide to College Giving

By Anne D. Neal and Michael B. Poliakoff

American philanthropists long have been generous in their support of colleges and universities. But donors do not always find the results they envisioned for their generosity and good intentions. The American Council of Trustees and Alumni (ACTA) has responded by publishing The Intelligent Donor’s Guide to College Giving. The guide provides step-by-step instructions for donors on how to target their giving, with profiles of successful gifts. Find out how to ensure, in the words of investor and philanthropist Stephen Friess, “that philanthropic dollars are investments in the values of American and its future.”

Anne D. Neal co-founded the American Council of Trustees and Alumni and has been president since 2003.  For over 15 years, Ms. Neal has been a prominent national player in higher education reform, publishing widely and appearing frequently on radio and television, including Fox Business News, CNN, Fox News, WGN, and NPR. She has authored or co-authored numerous ACTA studies on historical illiteracy, federal accreditation, governance, intellectual pluralism and cost, and contributed chapters to Reforming the Politically Correct University (AEI Press, 2009) and Accountability in American Higher Education (Palgrave MacMillan, forthcoming). She has also convened higher education conferences under the auspices of the Philanthropy Roundtable. In 2007, and then again in 2010, Ms. Neal was appointed to the National Advisory Committee on Institutional Quality and Integrity which advises the U.S. Secretary of Education on federal accreditation.

Ms. Neal has provided expert testimony before the Commission on the Future of Higher Education, the U.S. Senate Health, Education and Labor Committee, the Louisiana Postsecondary Education Commission, the California Advisory Committee to the U.S. Civil Rights Commission, and in many state capitals, and presented at conferences sponsored by the American Enterprise Institute, the American Legislative Exchange Council, the University of Notre Dame, the Foreign Policy Association, the Association of American Colleges and Universities, Montana State University, the American Association of University Professors and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation.

Prior to joining ACTA, Ms. Neal served as General Counsel and Congressional Liaison for the National Endowment for the Humanities. She also worked as a First Amendment and communications lawyer for Rogers & Wells and Wiley, Rein & Fielding.  Ms. Neal graduated Phi Beta Kappa and magna cum laude from Harvard College with an A.B. in American history and literature. She received her J.D. from Harvard Law School where she was president of the Harvard Journal on Legislation. She has served on the boards of many cultural and civic organizations, and currently is a director of the Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association, the U.S. Capitol Historical Society, and Casey Trees.

Michael B. Poliakoff became part of the ACTA team in March 2010. He oversees ACTA’s programming and publications and works directly with constituents on behalf of higher education reform. He previously served as vice president for academic affairs and research at the University of Colorado and in senior roles at the National Endowment for the Humanities, the National Council on Teacher Quality, the American Academy for Liberal Education, and the Pennsylvania Department of Education.

He has taught at Georgetown University, George Washington University, Hillsdale College, the University of Illinois at Chicago, and Wellesley College. He received his B.A. magna cum laude from Yale University and went on to study at Oxford University, as a Rhodes Scholar, and the University of Michigan, where he earned a Ph.D. in classical studies. He has been a junior fellow at the Center for Hellenic Studies, and his research has been supported by the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Deutscher Akademischer Austausch Dienst, and the Alexander Von Humboldt Siftung. He is the author of numerous books and journal articles in classical studies and education policy, including Combat Sports in the Ancient World: Competition, Violence, and Culture (Yale University Press). He has also received the American Philological Association’s Excellence in Teaching Award and the Pennsylvania Department of Education’s Distinguished Service to Education Award.