When we read about the Alfond Inn in Winter Park, Florida, a new boutique hotel owned by Rollins College, we were amazed by its innovativeness. No, we’re not talking about innovation around hotel design or cushy new mattresses. We’re talking about the hotel’s breakthrough strategy of donating profits toscholarships and financial aid at Rollins College.
In a world of rapidly rising tuition costs, the Alfond Inn stands out as an innovative solution to an increasingly growing problem. According to the data we gathered for The Athena Doctrine, 58% of millennials believe that the return on investment of a college education is worse today than it was twenty years ago. And as college costs continue to climb, so will the percentage of would-be students who say, “No thanks, not worth it.”
Rollins College’s forward-thinking approach reminds us of another business we met while researching the Athena Doctrine – Veritas Venture Partners, an Israeli venture capital firm. Veritas Ventures crowd sourced capital by encouraging Israel’s ambitious entrepreneurs to donate equity to a “public service venture fund,” called Tmura, a Hebrew word for both "metamorphosis" and "gift of transcendent value." When the businesses went public, Tmura would sell their shares and donate proceeds to worthy applicants such as Technoda, a firm dedicated to educating children from low-income families about science and technology.
There is still much to do to make education affordable and sustainable – but if more educators and companies think like Rollins College and Veritas Ventures, we will find a solution that benefits us all.