The Kennedy School of Government has received two significant gifts, $2 million from the Mallinckrodt Foundation and $2.93 million from the Charles Koch Foundation, that will go toward establishing student fellowships.
The Mallinckrodt gift, which has been endowed in perpetuity, will fund a fellowship for one mid-career MPA student at the Kennedy School each year starting in September 2016. The Koch Foundation gift is a three-year commitment that will fund five master’s degree fellowships, two doctoral fellowships, and additional visiting scholar positions in the Kennedy School’s Program on Education Policy and Governance, according to program director and Government professor Paul E. Peterson.
“The goal is to foster interest in the field of education entrepreneurship and provide help to young people who are pursuing degree programs in this area,” Peterson said. “We’re hopeful that this is the beginning of a relationship that will be going on for many years.”
The Koch gift, according to Charles Koch Foundation director of university relations John Hardin, came out of conversations between a Harvard graduate working at the foundation and a Harvard professor.
“When Harvard began asking us about supporting this program that helped students and scholars to better understand ways to better provide education, so it can have those opportunities to improve their own lives, we were excited to engage in that conversation,” Hardin said.
Charles G. Koch—who also co-founded the Cato Institute, a libertarian think tank—and his brother David H. Koch have drawn some scrutiny for the close to $900 million spending target their political network set earlier this year. A movement dubbed “UnKoch My Campus” has pushed back against donations from the Charles Koch Foundation to various colleges and universities nationwide.
The gifts come to the Kennedy School as it continues to fundraise as part of its segment of Harvard’s capital campaign, which has a public goal of $6.5 billion. The Kennedy School had raised $460 million toward its own goal of $500 million by late September. It had raised almost $100 million toward the campaign priority devoted to student “support” initiatives and fellowships, according to acting dean Archon Fung.
In a November interview, Fung emphasized that the school will place importance on endowing more fellowships and professorships in the second phase of the school’s campaign, which will begin when former Congressional Budget Office director Douglas W. Elmendorf assumes the deanship on Jan. 1.
“The gap between private sector remuneration and people doing public work is growing…and that creates enormous pressures, and so we want to do whatever we can on the financial aid side,” Fung said at the time. “It is our mission to enable people to pursue public careers in the broad sense—public leadership and solving public problems, and financial aid is a critical piece of enabling people to do that.”
—Staff writer Luca F. Schroeder can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @lucaschroeder.
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