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This week Harvard launched an interdisciplinary, University-wide center for teaching and research on non-profit institutions after receiving a $10 million donation from Rita E. Hauser '58 and Gustave M. Hauser.
The Hauser center will address issues such as how non-profits can best be managed, how non-profits and corporations can coordinate their activities and how to develop non-profit leaders.
"More than ever, we depend upon the nonprofit sector to address problems that government and for-profit institutions have found hard to solve," President Neil L. Rudenstine said in an interview on Wednesday. "Yet, for their powerful presence in our daily lives, nonprofit organizations--taken as a whole--have received little concentrated attention from our universities."
Dean of the Kennedy School Joseph S. Nye Jr. said in a news release that the center will have real-world importance.
"Civic and non-profit institutions are playing an increasingly important role on the governance of democracies as well as international relations," Nye said.
The center will sponsor research, graduate and undergraduate courses, executive education programs and symposia on non-profit policy and management.
The center currently has no director. For the moment, the center will be chaired by Guggenheim Professor of Criminal Justice Policy and Management Mark H. Moore, who said he plans to stay as chair for "two to three years."
Moore said he wanted to emphasize the interdisciplinary nature of the center.
"I think it will be important for us to forge and sustain a set of faculty relationships across the University," Moore said. "We will have to have enough conversations with one another so we get an idea of what the field as a whole looks like."
The center has already moved into the third floor of the Taubman building, where it joins the Shorenstein Center on Press, Politics and Public Policy and the Malcolm Wiener Center for Social Policy.
The center will engage in ongoing meetings with policy-makers and academics and hopes to become a resource for exploring public policies that have an effect on the non-profit sector.
Moore said he hoped the center would draw faculty who specialize in non-profits to Harvard but was not prepared to comment about who might be under consideration.
Currently there are very few faculty members associated exclusively with the center, but Moore said many would be willing to contribute to its mission.
"The concept of a center at the Kennedy School is pretty flexible," said Ramsey Professor of Political Economy Richard J. Zeckhauser. "I sometimes forget which [centers] I am associated with, and I have to check my resume."
Zeckhauser said he saw non-profits as a field that benefits from people who worked in many different fields.
"The best people in non-profits are people who have worked in their areas as well," Zeckhauser said. "It might be better to get five people, none of whom specialize in non-profit."
A two day conference beginning today titled "Non-profit Institutions in the Next Millennium," will honor the beginning of the center.
Included among speakers at the conference are Massachusetts Gov. William F. Weld '66; Peter F. Drucker, honorary chair of the Peter Drucker Foundation for Nonprofit Management.; Robert Erburu, chair of the J. Paul Getty Trust and former CEO of Times Mirror Company; and Millard Fuller, former president of the International Habitat For Humanity.
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