The ICUT Foundation collaborates with institutional members, businesses, and relevant stakeholders to raise funds to develop and implement innovative programs and administer privately funded scholarship opportunities for students attending Texas independent colleges and universities, especially underserved student populations.
In 1976, the Board of Directors of Independent Colleges and Universities of Texas, Inc. (ICUT), a dozen year-old non-profit organization under Section 501(c)(6) of the Internal Revenue Code, created a separate charitable foundation under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. It called the new organization the ICUT Research Foundation (IRF). The Board created the IRF to conduct research about the independent sector of higher education in Texas and provide information to the public about those institutions.
For some years, IRF published information detailing the wide range of programs and educational environments the independent sector provided Texas at no expense to the state’s taxpayers. It also collected data about the enrollment, faculty and finances of ICUT’s member institutions and published an annual statistical report.
In addition, IRF printed guides to independent institutions for high school counselors to use with their college-bound students. Through IRF, ICUT also interacted with organizations of high school counselors. Additionally, it provided tools to help high school students seek information from independent colleges and universities in which they were interested. IRF created a direct mail campaign to help ICUT institutions reach Texas college-bound minority students to increase their interest in attending an independent college or university in Texas.
In 1982, ICUT hired its first full-time executive officer and staff. These individuals were also the staff of the Foundation. Within a few years, the staff recommended allowing the Foundation to go dormant, since ICUT could perform all the activities of the Foundation. From that point until 2002, ICUT carried out the functions above without financing them through a charitable entity.
In 2002, IRF became the ICUT Foundation (IF) and began raising funds for research and a limited number of other purposes including research conducted by third-party providers, conferences devoted to a single topic and joint projects with state universities and Texas community colleges. In 2009, the Texas Independent College Foundation (TICF), a fundraising organization with a United Way approach to serving independent colleges, ceased operating. The IF assumed some of its functions including the administration of scholarship programs funded by corporations and individuals. administering privately funded scholarship programs for students at independent colleges and universities.