Kauffman Campuses Initiative

The Kauffman Foundation’s Kauffman Campuses initiative, which operated from 2003 to 2013, was designed to transform the way colleges and universities prepare students for success in the American economy. 

When launched in December 2003, eight universities were awarded up to $5 million each to make entrepreneurship education available across their campuses, enabling any student, regardless of field of study, to access entrepreneurial training.

The eight inaugural Kauffman Campuses were a diverse group, including two smaller universities (the University of Rochester in Rochester, NY, which is a research intensive school, and Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, NC, a liberal arts university); three universities with predominantly minority enrollments (Howard University in Washington, D.C., Florida International University in Miami, and the University of Texas at El Paso); and three larger universities (Washington University in St. Louis, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill).

As part of the initiative's matching funds requirement, the Kauffman Campus schools pledged up to a three-to-one match, which, combined with the Kauffman grants, directed a minimum of $100 million for the creation of new interdisciplinary entrepreneurship education programs in American higher education.

In December of 2006, another set of universities were selected to receive grants and make entrepreneurship a pan-campus experience.

The second round of the Kauffman Campuses initiative featured a total of $19.5 million in grants to these six U.S. universities with five-to-one matching grants totaling more than $200 million: Arizona State University, Georgetown University, Purdue University, Syracuse University, University of Wisconsin-Madison, and the University of Maryland-Baltimore County.

In addition, these five Northeast Ohio schools were funded in collaboration with the Burton D. Morgan Foundation, bringing the total schools to eighteen: Baldwin Wallace College, College of Wooster, Hiram College, Lake Erie College, and Oberlin College.

While entrepreneurship programs traditionally had been the domain of the business school, Kauffman Campuses recipients developed an astonishing variety of programs aimed at instilling the spirit and skills of entrepreneurial studies into college life.

Some universities chose to create minor and major degree programs, offer introductory courses for incoming freshmen, expand the role of technology transfer, or build or expand community-based businesses to students and surrounding communities.

Some broadened existing entrepreneurial activities on liberal arts campuses as well as on technology-oriented campuses. Others focused on developing Hispanic-American entrepreneurship, African-American entrepreneurship, and cross-cultural business creation.

All involved faculty and students from a variety of academic disciplines outside the conventional business curriculum.