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About the American Foundation for The University of the West Indies

History

The American Foundation for the University of the West Indies (AFUWI) was established in 1956 to develop an endowment fund in the United States for The University of the West Indies (UWI). Over the past decades, AFUWI has provided scholarships and grants and funded many special projects to foster the development of the University of the West Indies. The original patrons of the Foundation included such distinguished individuals as Former First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt and Her Royal Highness, Princess Alice. Today, AFUWI patrons include actor and songwriter Dr Harry Belafonte; Nobel Laureate Derek Walcott; and Former Secretary of State Colin Powell, individuals that are committed to creating increased educational opportunities for generations of West Indian people to come.

Mission

To source and administer private donations, maximize philanthropic efforts, and develop strategic alliances with American corporations, foundations, alumni and other organizations, primarily to provide scholarships, support academic programs and facilitate development projects. The University community is made up of the 16 member countries of Anguilla, Antigua & Barbuda, The Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Dominica, Grenada, Jamaica, Montserrat, St. Kitts & Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent & The Grenadines and Trinidad & Tobago.

Goals and Objectives

  • Establish a $5 million endowment fund within five years;
  • Establish a US$1 million scholarship program within two years that will provide full tuition to 100 students annually;
  • Establish collaborative research partnerships with at least ten U.S. institutions over the next five years;
  • Increase market awareness of the University’s contributions to the Caribbean and the U.S.

Context

The great nation of the United States of America(USA) in its most recent history has embraced the concept and practice that people every where deserve the opportunity to have access to the basic things in life, irrespective of color,race,creed,ethnic origin or religion . It is against that background that the AFUWI seeks to make known and leverage the strong bonds of interdependence between the economies of the Caribbean region and the USA. This is manifested daily by the vast numbers of persons of Caribbean heritage who make up the work force here, and can be found in every industry, at all levels, by the numerous and diverse role and positions held by many such persons in areas of politics and government and by their cultural and economic contribution to the growth and advancement of the USA. It is proven and readily accepted that improving the educational opportunities of the people of the Caribbean have a direct positive impact on the economic and social fabric of the USA.Currently less than 6% of the population in the English speaking Caribbean has tertiary education.This is largely because, many who are eligible are unable to afford the cost as these small island states continue to grapple with the challenges of a development. These include the environmental and climatic concerns, crime and violence, drugs, high unemployment and dwindling natural resources. The cost of tuition for one academic year at the UWI is approximately US$3000, which when compared to the average cost here (refer New York State) is approximately 400% less expensive. Yet for many, this is unaffordable, and we are plagued with heartrending tales of many who make the sacrifice and are unable to complete their course of study because of financial challenges.
Currently, there are approximately 4,000 eligible applicants for scholarships.
Even as our economy here in the USA experiences the biggest financial crisis of modern times, its impact on the economies of the small developing nations of the Caribbean will take an even greater toll, given their dependency on the USA for tourism, agricultural export, remittances and other economic activities. This situation will definitely generate harsher times for students who are already financially challenged.

Mandate

In supporting the UWI, the AFUWI continues to enhance that institution’s ability to play a pivotal role in educating a cadre of persons who are at the forefront of Caribbean and global thought imagination and action.

Governance

The Foundation is audited annually by external independent auditors in keeping with the requirements of the legal and regulatory framework which governs the non profit industry. The AFUWI holds a tax exempt status and a special dispensation to raise funds in the USA and grant tax-deductible benefits to US donors funding a Non-American institution. The Foundation is a US based organization and is subject to and operates in strict adherence to all state and federal regulatory guidelines.Its audited fianancials are availble from the US Attorney General's office. Operations are directed by a board of trustees with proven expertise in corporate, private, non profit and public sector management.

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