WASHINGTON, March 25, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- Today Frank McCourt announced a bold $100 million investment to catalyze an inclusive pipeline of public policy leaders and strengthen the capacity of civic institutions to have a transformational impact on society. The investment will reduce tuition barriers at the McCourt School of Public Policy, which includes eliminating tuition for the incoming class of National Urban Fellows. It will also enable Georgetown to expand and support its faculty and further its efforts to redirect the power of technology to work for the common good.
"Society is facing bigger challenges than ever before, making it essential that the people tasked with solving these challenges are not only well trained, but also represent the backgrounds and experiences of our full society," said Frank McCourt. "Too often, the people most impacted by problems like economic inequality or extractive technology aren't at the policy-making table. I have been very pleased with what has been accomplished under the leadership of President DeGioia and Dean Cancian since the creation of the McCourt School in 2013. This additional investment builds on the strong foundation and inclusive vision we have already set in motion. With this funding, the McCourt School can open its doors more widely and build a pipeline of future public policy leaders that reflects the true diversity of our communities. Our ambition is to one day eliminate all financial barriers to a McCourt education."
The investment builds on Frank McCourt's history of initiatives designed to deepen impact and inclusion at civic institutions. In 2013, he made a founding investment of $100 million to create the McCourt School of Public Policy, advancing his vision for a world-class public policy school dedicated to ethics and impact. Over the last decade, the McCourt School has established itself as not only one of the world's premier public policy institutions, but also a leader of transformational policy impact in critical areas from social policy reform to how policy can shape technology. This new investment reflects Frank McCourt's continued vision of building more diverse, inclusive policy-making and positions the McCourt School to be the most inclusive public policy school in the world.
"Frank has long recognized the importance of focusing policy-making and decision-making on people," said John J. DeGioia, President of Georgetown University. "His vision of access and inclusion has been a driving force for the McCourt School since it was founded, enabling it to become one of the most impactful public policy schools in the world. This additional investment will reduce tuition barriers and expand access even further—strengthening public policy that much more."
This investment will enable the incoming class of National Urban Fellows—a 50-year-old organization dedicated to developing mid-career professionals, particularly women and men of color, to be leaders and change agents in the public and nonprofit sectors—to attend the McCourt School tuition-free in 2021-22. It is also an early and impactful step toward an ambitious goal of eliminating tuition barriers at the McCourt School more broadly, increasing access for students seeking a policy education, particularly those from underrepresented groups.
"This investment in the incoming class of National Urban Fellows is an investment in building a more just and equitable society and expanding the sphere of policymakers, civic leaders, and public servants," said Lisa Rawlings, President and CEO of the National Urban Fellows. "The National Urban Fellows and the McCourt School share the goal of creating a consistent pipeline of diverse talent into the public and social sectors at a time when our nation needs it most."
"This exciting move towards greater inclusion at the McCourt School will empower the best and brightest changemakers to make an impact on the world through policy," said Maria Cancian, Dean of the McCourt School. "Frank's vision has propelled the McCourt School towards becoming one of the most inclusive and impactful institutions in the country. To create even greater access for students seeking a policy education, we must continue to develop the resources to eliminate the barriers that too often preclude public service. This investment will have a profound impact in launching that effort."
In addition to reducing tuition barriers, the investment will allow the McCourt School to double its faculty size over the next decade, enabling deeper engagement with students and complex public policy challenges. Further, the investment will lay the groundwork for future initiatives and collaborations focused on technology that serves the common good, building on Georgetown's existing expertise at the intersection of technology, policy, law, and ethics.
Bringing in new voices to solve complex problems and build innovative solutions has been a common theme of Frank McCourt's impact efforts. This includes his launch of Unfinished in 2020—a new enterprise dedicated to strengthening civic life in the digital age. Unfinished brings a diverse, entrepreneurial network of innovators into the work of redirecting technology to serve the common good, renewing and strengthening civic institutions to accelerate inclusive problem-solving, and growing a fairer economy. As an enterprise that integrates social impact with financial results, the Unfinished portfolio includes a technology lab, a media initiative, and an entrepreneurial network of innovators working to advance our economy, democracy, and technology.
"We're seeing right now what happens when society isn't inclusive: toxic inequality and deep divisions," said Angela Glover Blackwell, Advisor to Unfinished and Founder in Residence of PolicyLink. "For our society to thrive going forward, we have to focus on equity—and higher education needs to evolve to meet that imperative. I'm delighted to see this powerful investment in expanding access and opportunity for marginalized communities. I am hopeful that this advancement at Georgetown will inspire other institutions and partners to follow."