“We’re looking especially for projects that entail collaboration across all of Harvard,” he said.
Collaboration is a key word for the partnership between the Foundation and Harvard. Since Harvard already has several established social entrepreneurial groups and research laboratories that study human behavior and societal interaction, Bernstein noted that the FHB initiative will work inside the existing framework rather than implement its own system of awarding grants.
“This should be an initiative, rather than something that builds another center with its own function, precisely with the goal of maximizing relationship-building with other programs,” Bernstein said.
The Pershing Square Foundation has given out $235 million in grants and social investments since its founding eight years ago. Yet, Bernstein noted that the new Harvard program promises to fulfill a unique niche.
“There is so much potential when we develop at somewhere as important and special as Harvard a cross-disciplinary academic discipline on something as important as human behavior,” Bernstein said.
The Pershing Square gift also includes $4 million to endow a chair in global health for University professor Paul E. Farmer, as well as $5 million for the men's crew team.
—Staff writer Jessica A. Barzilay can be reached at email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter@jessicabarzilay.