In 2006, a group of twenty-three liberal arts colleges received a five year faculty career enhancement grant from the Mellon Foundation. Originally called the Mellon 23, this grant was used to fund collaborative initiatives to support faculty in their scholarly and creative work. The two major components of this collaboration were the continuation and broadening of collaborative workshops and the creation of Mellon Assemblies.
The work of this collaborative effort -- particularly the workshop component -- has been very well received by the faculty participants and the member institutions decided to continue on with these collaborative efforts after the completion of the Mellon grant. In January 2011, the Mellon 23 was renamed the Alliance to Advance Liberal Arts Colleges (AALAC) to acknowledge this commitment.