Who We Are

The United Methodist Higher Education Foundation (UMHEF) aims to make higher education financially possible for the leaders of tomorrow. Since 1965, UMHEF has been a leader in church-related foundations and agencies in providing scholarship support to qualifying students attending the 100+ United Methodist-related higher education institutions. Last year, $1.88 million in scholarship aid was awarded to 800+ students.

We aim to inspire generous donors to partner with us to achieve our mission of ensuring the continuing presence and influence of The United Methodist Church* in providing higher education in a Christian context. Our purpose is to raise, manage, and distribute funds to foster education for students attending our United Methodist-related colleges, universities, and theological schools.

UMHEF at a Glance

  • Vision: That it be economically possible for any qualified Methodist student to be educated at a United Methodist-related institution of higher education.
  • Average Annual Scholarship Distribution: $2,000,000
  • Annual Funds Raised: $985,000+
  • Established: 1965

UMHEF is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, incorporated in the state of Tennessee. The foundation receives no apportionment funds from The United Methodist Church, which makes the generous support of donors like you even more vital to the life of this ministry.

A Brief History of UMHEF

Founded in 1965, the United Methodist Higher Education Foundation is indebted to Chancellor William Pearson Tolley, President of Syracuse University (1942-1969), for his vision of supporting church-related education. That vision led him to provide the initial leadership that created the Foundation. During the Methodist General Conference Higher Education Banquet at the 1964 General Conference, Tolley proposed a foundation to raise $50-$100 million to provide scholarships for Methodist students attending Methodist institutions. His driving belief in the need to financially support Methodist-related institutions of higher education brought about not only the creation of the Foundation but also the assembly of an outstanding group of influential individuals to lead it through its initial years.