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Kennedy School Raises $580 Million in Capital Campaign

By Lucas Ward, Crimson Staff Writer

The Harvard Kennedy School of Government has raised roughly $580 million in its capital campaign, surpassing its original $500 million goal and marking a $10 million increase from December 2016.

Going forward, Kennedy School Dean Douglas W. Elmendorf says the school will focus on funding student financial aid, an ongoing construction project set to finish next winter, and developing programs that engage with “digital technology and governance.”

Elmendorf said he wants to hire faculty specializing in areas like cyber security, as well as provide funds to the Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy in order to conduct further research. He says he finds the area particularly relevant in an age of increased dependence on technology.

“Digital technology is changing the way businesses work. It’s changing our personal lives,” Elmendorf said. “We need to train our students and work with policymakers to push faster and use digital technology.”

He added that a more immediate goal is to complete fundraising for the Kennedy School’s construction project, which will remodel and connect Kennedy School buildings such as the Taubman, Rubenstein, Littauer, and Belfer buildings, as well as adds about 77,000 square feet of space to the school’s JFK St. campus.

While the project’s total price tag is roughly $126 million, Elmendorf said his predecessor, David T. Ellwood ’75, who left the school in 2015, raised most of the funds.

The Kennedy School surpassed its original campaign goal of $500 million in 2016, adding to the University’s total record-breaking $7 billion campaign. Elmendorf said in December, however, that the Kennedy School’s “goal is not to hit a particular dollar value,” and that he will continue fundraising for new developments.

Elmendorf noted that, unlike other Harvard schools, both past and recent gifts to the Kennedy School come from non-alumni donors. Instead, he said people interested in the Kennedy School’s work tend to donate to the campaign.

“In contrast with many academic institutions, we raise comparatively little money from our alumni and most of our money from people who are interested in public policy,” he said. “People realize that we are a powerful force for good in the world. And they want to support that and be part of it.”

—Staff writer Lucas Ward can be reached at Follow him on twitter at @LucaspfWard.

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