About Us


About the NHEF

The Nigeria Higher Education Foundation (NHEF) was founded by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur foundation in 2004. Since then, the NHEF has been committed to enhancing the capacity of higher education institutions in Nigeria.

A strong, world-class higher education sector in Nigeria is essential to the development of the next generation of leaders; and contributes to a growing economy, facilitates a just and vibrant social structure, and promotes participation in a stable, lasting democracy.

The NHEF is working toward a future in which Nigerian higher education is one of the best in the world – one where Nigerian institutions develop global scholars and leaders of the 21st century that can make a lasting impact in Nigeria and throughout Africa. Therefore, we seek to collaborate with Nigerian universities, and provide local and global resources to develop, sustain, and advance the skills and leadership of young Nigerian scholars.


NHEF Timeline


Launch of Partnership for Higher Education in Africa (PHEA)

In 2000, the Partnership for Higher Education in Africa (PHEA) was launched by four institutions based on the belief that higher education was critical to Africa’s renaissance.



New Foundations Join PHEA

Mellon Foundation, Kresge Foundation and Hewlett Foundation joined PHEA.


Establishment of NHEF

In 2004, after several years of supporting higher education in Nigeria, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, under the leadership of Jonathan Fanton challenged a small group of Nigerian professionals concerned about the future of Nigeria to carry on the work of helping Nigerian Universities to build their capacity and become self-sustaining.


1st NHEF gala to galvanize Nigerian Alumni in the diaspora



NHEF Scholars Program Launched


Our Mission & Vision

Our Mission

To enhance the capacity of higher education institutions in Nigeria and raise awareness about the role of higher education and Nigerian universities in social, economic and political development. We are focused on sustainable development and creating opportunities for developing and nurturing Nigerian talent.

Our Vision

To create a future in which Nigeria’s higher education ranks amongst the best in the world increase the number of well-educated Nigerians assuming positions of leadership on the global stage.

To achieve our mission and vision, the NHEF seeks to:

– Assist Nigerian Universities to become self-sustaining by creating a culture of philanthropy within the partner university alumni community and friends of Nigeria living in the Diaspora.

– Facilitate fundraising training opportunities and play a leadership role in the development of policies and practices that enhance the fundraising and alumni enrichment capacities of our partner universities.

– Identify and develop linkages and strategic partnerships between Nigerian and foreign universities, Foundations, Corporations, government entities and qualified individuals.

– Develop and manage two-way exchange programs for students, professionals and faculty between US and Nigeria.

Do you Know?

2023 NHEF Scholars Program Application is now open