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McGowan Fund News

Apr 17 2018
Twenty-five Years and Still Evolving

A program for educators that inspired elementary school teachers to broach tough subjects, including the atom bomb. A special village where homeless, single parents get jobs, go to college, and change their children’s lives. An institute devoted to regenerative medicine, the science and practice of replacing damaged tissue or organs.

As the William G. McGowan Charitable Fund marks its 25th year of giving, we celebrate hundreds of hardworking partners, scores of innovations, and generations of healthier families. We also look back on years of momentum, increasing focus, and an evolving, increasingly sophisticated role as an agent of change. In fact, change could be the Fund’s de facto watchword.

The Change-Maker
Twenty-five years ago, the McGowan Fund was launched in recognition of William G. McGowan, an entrepreneur and innovator who transformed a struggling local radio service into MCI, the $9.5 billion telecommunications giant. Along the way, he helped to dismantle the AT&T monopoly and changed American business. He believed in the power of education, the urgency of community needs, and the promise of medical research—values that have guided the Fund. In the early years of the Fund, Sue Gin-McGowan, Bill’s wife and an entrepreneur in her own right, and Monsignor Andrew J. McGowan, Bill’s brother, led the board of directors.

In those early years, the board placed an emphasis on higher education, building two business schools and providing $11 million in college scholarships. In the area of human services, grants went to community organizations in the regions where the board members resided. In the area of medical research, support focused on end-stage heart failure, launching the McGowan Center for Artificial Organ Development and, later, the McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine, now one combined institution at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.

Throughout, the Fund required strong planning and measurable results from its grantees.

Today, the 13-member board is led by William P. McGowan, chair, and Leo A. McGowan, president, both nephews of William G. McGowan. Now a second-generation family foundation, the Fund has honed its giving, taking national concerns into account, while maintaining a focus on the communities where trustees live and its long-standing vision to help people overcome poverty and live healthy, sustainable lives.

What Would Bill Do?
One such change was inspired by the 2008 national financial crisis. Reflecting Bill McGowan’s focus on ethics, the Fund’s board was concerned about failures in business leadership at the highest levels. Accordingly the Fund transformed its traditional scholarship program into the McGowan Fellows Program, which handpicks 10 students who demonstrate ethical leadership potential and an interest in the betterment of society from the nation’s top business schools. As part of the fellowship, the students collaborate on a social impact project.

Another such shift occurred in 2015. Although the national recession had resolved, 45,000 children in America were still homeless. Among the Fund’s six regions at the time—Chicago, Denver metro and Eagle County, Kansas City metro, Northeastern Pennsylvania, Reno metro, and Rochester metro and Yates County—the statistics were sobering. For instance, 9 percent of schoolchildren in Rochester were homeless. The McGowan board shifted its broad human services agenda to support more wraparound programs that battle homelessness and its causes.

With these developments in hand, the work continues to be thoughtful and robust. In 2017 alone, the Fund battled poverty and improved lives through nearly $7.1 million in grants. Among the programs: a school for children with neurological problems that achieves a 100 percent graduation rate and a fast-track training program with a job placement rate of 90 percent.

In the last 25 years, the Fund has put $55.1 million toward education, $57.5 million toward human services, and $31.1 million toward healthcare and medical research through our program grants. “Behind those numbers are thousands of children and families—educated, trained, fed, treated, housed, and put on sustainable paths,” notes Diana Spencer, executive director.

Forward
It’s fitting that a funding initiative created in recognition of a change-maker would continue evolving. Having supported innovations in gene therapy aimed at end-stage heart disease by founding the McGowan Institute, the Fund has recently placed greater focus on disease prevention. Two programs aimed at lowering obesity rates and risk for heart disease show promise for national expansion. These include Healthy Way to Grow, inaugurated by the Fund and managed by the American Heart Association, which was adopted by 60 early childhood centers outside the Fund’s regions; and ELM (Eat Well, Love Better, Move More), a lifestyle program designed by Rush University Medical Center’s Department of Preventive Medicine, now in strategic planning for a clinical trial rollout in the Fund’s regions.

“We’ve shifted focus when needed while maintaining our commitment to help people overcome poverty and live healthier and more productive lives,” notes Spencer. “That consistency and capacity to change are tributes to our founders, Sue Gin-McGowan and Monsignor McGowan. The successes belong to our smart and collaborative partner organizations and grantees.”


Feb 6 2018
In 2017: $7.1 Million, Six Regions, 124 Organizations

Focusing on its three pillars of giving—Education, Human Services, and Healthcare & Medical Research—plus its flagship scholarship program, the McGowan Fund sought to ease poverty and transform lives through nearly $7.1 million in grants in 2017. The grant-making program put special emphasis on organizations demonstrating strong planning, innovation, and collaboration. From a small school devoted to children with neurological problems to a program that bolsters financial literacy for homeless adults, the Fund reached thousands of children and adults.

The Fund made these grants in its traditional six regions: Chicago, Denver metro & Eagle County, Kansas City metro, Northeastern Pennsylvania, Reno metro, and Rochester metro and Yates County. The McGowan Fellows Program provides scholarships to students in the nation’s top 10 MBA programs.

In addition, in 2017, two programs aimed at lowering obesity rates showed promise for national expansion. These include Healthy Way to Grow, inaugurated by the Fund and managed by the American Heart Association, which was adopted by 60 early childhood centers outside the Fund’s regions; and ELM (Eat Well, Love Better, Move More), a successful lifestyle program designed by Rush University’s Department of Preventive Medicine, which engaged in strategic planning for a clinical rollout in the Fund’s six regions.

The Fund itself engaged in strategic planning and review in 2017, making it an energized and reflective year for both the board and staff as the organization marched toward its 25th anniversary. “We’re pleased with the range and impact of the work we supported and grateful to our many partners,” said Diana Spencer, executive director of the Fund. “And we look forward to a terrific 25th year.”


Jul 18 2017
Fake News Takes the Stage at the Inaugural McGowan Forum on Ethics in Leadership

How does misinformation affect democracy, especially in the phenomenon of “fake news”? Do journalists have an ethical responsibility to report the truth? What is “fake news,” anyway?

These and other questions dealing with ethics in journalism formed the backbone of the inaugural McGowan Forum on Ethics in Leadership held on a warm spring evening in March inside the William G. McGowan Theater at the National Archives Museum, Washington, D.C.

With a nearly full-house audience in attendance, four prominent panelists gathered on the stage, including Jay Cost of The Weekly Standard; Amy Hollyfield of The Tampa Bay Times; Nicholas Lemann, writer of The New Yorker and journalism professor at Columbia University; and Craig Newmark, founder of craigslist and the Craig Newmark Foundation. Joining them was the forum's moderator, Margaret Sullivan of The Washington Post.

For the past decade, the National Archives has hosted two McGowan Forums a year on communications and women in leadership, discussing topics such as obstacles and opportunities for women leaders in the military, the extraordinary experience of photographing U.S. presidents, and the changing landscape of political cartoons in the digital era.

The March 29 forum marked the first of a new series of McGowan Forums concerned with ethics. The Fund hopes the series will develop enriching connections to work in ethical leadership already conducted through the McGowan Fellows Program.

A central concern of the evening was casting light upon the ethical considerations of journalists and those leading the news business. News organizations face challenges in a new era of overwhelming proliferation and readership of stories (both real and fake) that are fed across the internet by social media like Facebook, as well as other online avenues.

A strong assertion was made by the panelists that facts and fact-checking are critical, and reaching toward truth in reporting is part of being a good journalist.

After a lively conversation between the panelists and Sullivan, an energized exchange of ideas and commentary took place as questions started flowing from audience members lined up along the stairs on either side of the theater. In addition, viewers participated by watching the live feed via the National Archives Foundation YouTube channel.

The conversation between panelists and audience explored what it means to be a part of a thriving democracy and the nature of capitalism, revealing the McGowan Theater as an ideal platform for engaged public discourse on ethical considerations from a variety of angles.

“We are proud that the William G. McGowan Charitable Fund has left an indelible mark on the National Archives,” said Patrick M. Madden, executive director of the National Archives Foundation. “Their generosity has provided support for free educational programming to diverse audiences from across the nation and the world, and helped the Archives share with the more than 1 million annual visitors from around the world the historical significance and modern relevance of the records of our democracy.”

The forum ended with hearty applause, but the evening’s conversations continued as people spilled out of the theater onto the National Mall.

The William G. McGowan Charitable Fund supports high-quality, free-of-charge programming at the U.S. National Archives and Records Administration year-round to promote civic engagement and stimulate public discourse on issues critical to the nation. To watch a video of the Inaugural Forum on Ethics in Leadership, please visit: https://engage.archivesfoundation.org/inaugural-mcgowan-forum-ethics-leadership-journalism


Apr 18 2017
New Horizons: The Promise of Data for Nonprofits

New Horizons is our occasional series on trends, discoveries, and tips for nonprofits.

When researchers put out a call for subjects to participate in a new health study in Reno, Nevada, last year, 10,000 citizens responded within 48 hours, boosting the first-ever study to combine environmental, genetic, social, and clinical data to help communities prepare for and solve problems. The effort promises to change the way nonprofits, healthcare organizations, and governments plan and work by discovering connections among the four types of data.

“For instance, what is the connection between ozone levels and hospital admissions for atrial fibrillation?” Anthony Slonim, MD, one of the founders of the project, posits. “Why do admissions spike?” Understanding what constitutes a threat and where threats to health are starting to build—perhaps in the form of poverty, crime, air pollution, water contamination, or scores of other stressors—will help organizations take preventive action, plan for appropriate interventions and staffing, and lead to comprehensive solutions.

The project is a collaboration involving Desert Research Institute, which has expertise in environmental data; Renown Health, Reno’s only locally-governed, nonprofit healthcare system, led by Slonim; and 23andMe, a genetics company, which provided DNA testing for all 10,000 volunteers. Although Nevada’s governor was the first to contribute his DNA to the project and the subject pool is confined to Nevada, researchers see implications for communities around the world. The Nevada data offer a diversity that makes the work particularly applicable: five years of health records for 360,000 individuals; the DNA samples from multi-generational families, pairs of twins, rural citizens, urbanites, and multiple ethnic groups; and a wealth of social and economic data.

“People all want the same thing. They want to be healthy, to have a nice home, to have their children safe and successful,” notes Slonim. Data may prove to be the most effective tool in recent history.


Jun 13 2016
Early Childhood Education Collaborative Makes $3.7 million in Grants

The Early Education Funders Collaborative, which includes The McGowan Fund, has announced $3.7 million in grants supporting nine non-profit organizations and initiatives serving children ages birth to 5 in the six-county Kansas City metro area.

The goal of the early learning fund is to increase quality and access for low-income families and children of color. The organizations will use grants to hire new teachers, provide training and expand capacity to serve more children.

The grant recipients are: Child Advocacy Services Center, Inc. (The Children’s Place); El Centro, Inc.; Guadalupe Centers; Head Start of Shawnee Mission, Inc. (Growing Futures Early Education Center); Mid-America Regional Council Community Services Corp.; Operation Breakthrough, Inc.; Kansas City Missouri Public Schools (KCPS Early Learning Program); United Inner City Services (St. Mark Child and Family Development Center); University of Kansas Medical Center Research Institute (Educare).

“It is beyond thrilling to be able to recognize our first grantees as a Collaborative,” said Denise St. Omer, vice president of grant-making and inclusion initiatives at the Greater Kansas City Community Foundation, a member of the Collaborative. “We know the critical need these nine organizations serve to prepare children for success in kindergarten. We believe the grants they are receiving will allow them to have a positive effect on nearly 6,000 Kansas City children.”

Several of the organizations will use the grant funding to expand capacity and accept more children. Others are using the funds to hire additional staff, enact new teacher training and parent engagement programs, implement a kindergarten-readiness screening pilot program or work with a mental health consultant.

More information about the Collaborative is available at www.growyourgiving.org/early-ed. The next application period will begin in the fall.

Other organizations involved in the Collaborative include the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, Francis Family Foundation, George K. Baum Family Foundation, Greater Kansas City Community Foundation, Hall Family Foundation, Hispanic Development Fund, The H & R Block Foundation, Stanley H. Durwood Foundation, and United Way of Greater Kansas City.


Apr 7 2016
McGowan Supports Early Childhood Education Collaborative

The McGowan Fund has joined nine other philanthropic organizations to establish a new fund aimed at improving early childhood education in the six-county metro area around Kansas City. The primary target: programs that support teacher and leader development, parent engagement, and creation or expansion of quality programming.

With a goal of increasing the access to quality programs for low-income families and children of color, the Early Education Funders Collaborative is making awards of as much as $500,000. The Collaborative was founded by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation.

This is the first time that McGowan has joined a collaboration of this size. Increasingly, the board is interested in these kinds of partnerships, which can leverage resources and bring a new scale to the Fund’s work. “Working with other foundations has a multiplier effect,” explains Diana Spencer, executive director of the Fund. “The collaboration gives us greater reach in our support for low-income children who have limited access to the power of early childhood education. We’re so pleased to be part of this group,” she adds. Among the partners in this effort: Greater Kansas City Community Foundation, the Hall Family Foundation, and the Francis Family Foundation.

The collaboration also serves to increase awareness and visibility around an issue of major importance, notes Spencer. According to a Harvard report, every $1 invested in early childhood education can reap returns as high as $16.14 in benefits to the individual and society. Among the social benefits: higher income taxes and lower crime costs.

McGowan’s education grant-making strives to ensure that all children enter kindergarten healthy and ready to learn; achieve grade-level academic performance in literacy, math, and science; graduate from high school prepared for success in college, vocational training, or the workforce; and graduate from college or vocational training prepared for self-sufficiency.


Feb 25 2015
Leadership of Fund Board Passes to Second Generation; New Officers Announced

Leadership of the William G. McGowan Charitable Fund has passed to its second generation through the recent election of a new board chair and executive committee. Bill McGowan of Kansas City, Kansas, was named chair and succeeds former president Sue Gin-McGowan who passed away on September 26, 2014. Other new officers are Leo McGowan, a resident of Scranton, Pennsylvania, who will serve as president; Brian McGowan of Kansas City, Kansas, as treasurer, and Dan Rosica of Rochester, New York, as secretary. Five board members were also elected: Marianne Brand of Rochester, New York; Sherilyn Kingsbury of Aurora, Illinois; Gertrude C. McGowan, Esq., of Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania; Mary McGowan-Swartz of Kansas City, Kansas, and John Worthington of Reno, Nevada.

“The McGowan Fund is inspired by the creativity and perseverance of two successful and charitable individuals, William and Sue Gin-McGowan,” said new chair Bill McGowan. “As William McGowan's nephew, and a board director who worked closely with Sue, I am deeply committed to further expanding the outreach of the McGowan Fund. We are dedicated to improving lives in America, one community and one person at a time."

”While I am deeply saddened by the sudden loss of Sue Gin-McGowan, I am heartened as the second-generation leadership takes the helm,” said Diana Spencer, executive director of the Fund. “The Fund has never been in better hands, and the future for grant-making in our communities is bright."

Founded in 1993, the William G. McGowan Charitable Fund is a philanthropic family foundation established to honor William G. McGowan, the former CEO of MCI. His commitment to ethical leadership and the betterment of society has shaped the Fund’s mission to impact lives, create sustainable change and empower future generations to achieve their greatest potential. Since its founding, the Fund has distributed more than $120 million in grants in the areas of human services, education, and healthcare and medical research.

Contact: 


Sep 30 2014
Remembering Sue Gin-McGowan

We are very sad to report the death of Sue Gin-McGowan, president of our board and widow of William G. McGowan (Bill). Sue passed away on Friday, September 26, after having suffered a stroke earlier in the week. She was 73.

In 1993, Sue and other members of Bill’s family established the Fund to advance his legacy. Since that time, Sue’s leadership and vision have guided us toward excellence and accomplishment.

We will honor Sue’s legacy by vigorously carrying forward the mission of the Fund: to strengthen lives and communities.

Diana Spencer
Executive Director, 
The William G. McGowan Charitable Fund


Oct 16 2013
McGowan Fund to Battle Childhood Obesity Through Major New Initiative

The William G. McGowan Charitable Fund today announced the launch of an important new initiative that will impact the future health and well-being of children across the country. The McGowan Fund will serve as the inaugural funder of Healthy Way to Grow, a joint program between the American Heart Association and Nemours, a nonprofit children’s health system. Healthy Way to Grow will provide technical assistance and support to childcare centers across the country and is aimed at decreasing obesity among children ages birth to five years old. 

Healthy Way to Grow represents the largest award given to healthcare or research in the McGowan Fund’s 20-year history, and the groundbreaking initiative heralds a new direction in large-scale, health-promotion programming for the foundation. “Childhood obesity negatively affects children’s ability to succeed in school, as well as their health down the road,” said Sue Gin-McGowan, president of the McGowan Fund Board of Directors. “Our goal in launching Healthy Way to Grow is to give children the opportunity to live healthier, possibility-filled lives.” 

Learn more about Healthy Way to Grow


McGowan Fellows News

Jul 18 2017
How to Save Lives: McGowan Fellows Work on Getting Insurers to Cover a Preventive Health Program

When the William G. McGowan Charitable Fund proposed that its 2017 class of Fellows figure out how to get health insurance companies to cover the McGowan-supported initiative Eat Well, Love Better, Move More (ELM), the Fellows rose to the task with creative energy and passion.

At the heart of the challenge was a life-threatening problem: metabolic syndrome, a cluster of conditions including high blood pressure, low HDL cholesterol, high triglyceride level, and abdominal obesity that, in combination, can multiply a person’s risk of heart disease and diabetes.

The associated risks are serious: people with metabolic syndrome are five times as likely to develop diabetes and twice as likely to develop heart disease leading to heart attack and stroke. The size of the problem is serious, too: 35 percent of the U.S. population has metabolic syndrome.

ELM is an intensive, six-month group lifestyle intervention developed at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago by a preventive medicine specialist and a multidisciplinary team drawing from expertise in cardiology, psychology, and nutrition. The program consists of weekly physical activity, detailed demonstrations on cooking meals and how to read food labels, and behavioral modifications that help guide people to eat well and exercise more.

McGowan supported ELM early on by giving Rush University the critical seed funding it needed in 2010 to prove the efficacy of the model, and the results were staggering: Rush found that ELM reversed metabolic syndrome in over 50 percent of program participants.

“ELM has the potential to reverse metabolic syndrome and save lives,” said Diana Spencer, McGowan Fund Executive Director. “The hope is that ELM can be an optional treatment for people with metabolic syndrome, that clinicians will offer it as a viable treatment that works, and when people take that treatment, it will be covered by health insurance.”

Because ELM can ultimately save lives, “It made perfect sense to propose this as a social impact project to our 2017 McGowan Fellows class,” said Spencer.

Practically none of the Fellows had experience in healthcare, but that was not a hindrance. “It was a space so relevant and important to everyone,” said H. Kay Howard, the 2017 McGowan Fellow studying at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management.

So how did they get down to brass tacks?

“We divided and conquered,” said Howard. The Fellows class broke up into pairs and groups to analyze various aspects of the issue and to consider best ways forward to get ELM covered.

Howard partnered with Fellows classmate Jonathan Fung, a student at the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business. While Howard comes from a nonprofit background, Fung has an accounting background. But bringing these different perspectives to the table together, “strengthened our part of the Fellows project,” said Howard.

In order to better understand how a program like ELM could be covered by insurance providers, Howard and Fung took an in-depth look at the Diabetes Prevention Program, the first preventive health program to receive nationwide coverage. They spoke with three different experts who worked on getting diabetes prevention covered by insurance across a 20-year period.

“Being able to walk through every part of that timeline gave us a much deeper understanding of this process,” said Howard.

They also had some fun along the way. Coming from two rival top business schools in Chicago, Kellogg and Booth, the pair would joke about needing to meet “on neutral territory.”

Ultimately, the 2017 Fellows came up with a strong set of recommendations and next steps for Rush University to consider.

And for the whole Fellows class, the project was a natural platform for thinking about ethics in leadership and business. “I think it’s really easy to look at this issue from a business angle, profitability, how to get something as cheaply as possible to the purchaser,” said Howard. “Our goal was, ‘How do we get this to as many people as possible, and as quickly as possible?’ In the same thinking, Rush University wants ELM to be covered to reach as many people as possible so they can have a greater impact on people with metabolic syndrome.”

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The McGowan Fellows Program is a unique scholarship program of the William G. McGowan Charitable Fund for top business school students committed to ethical business practices. The program provides full tuition for a student’s second year of business school, mentoring, and yearlong discourse, as well as the development of lifelong relationships with Fellows alumni that last into and beyond their careers.



Sep 17 2016
William G. McGowan Fund Announces 2017 Fellowship Class

The William G. McGowan Charitable Fund has announced the 10 recipients of its prestigious 2016 fellowship awards. Fellows hail from the nation’s leading graduate business programs; they’re top-tier second-year MBA students, who exhibit outstanding leadership potential as well as strong dedication to ethics and public service.

The 2017 McGowan Fellows are Muhammad Ali Akhtar, University of Michigan Stephen M. Ross School of Business; Tom Allin, Dartmouth College Tuck School of Business; David Dierker, Carnegie Melon University Tepper School of Business; Jonathan Chun-Hung Fung, University of Chicago Booth School of Business; Samantha Allyn Fahrbach, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Sloan School of Management; David Anthony Gross, Duke University Fuqua School of Business; H. Kay Howard, Northwestern University Kellogg School of Management; Emily Lampert, University of Pennsylvania Wharton School; Alfredo J. Rivera Rios, Georgetown University McDonough School of Business; Evan Zehnal, Columbia University Columbia Business School.

Fellows receive a full-tuition scholarship for their second-year studies, the largest cash award given by a program of this kind, as well as mentoring throughout the academic year from a prominent business leader selected by their home school. Fellows also participate in a social impact group project. This year’s project will focus on building a business case for insurance providers to cover the ELM or Eat-Love-Move lifestyle management approach as a viable therapy in the treatment of metabolic syndrome.

But expectations reach beyond a single project. “The Fund believes that these bright and accomplished next- generation leaders will improve organizations, communities, and society, efforts that directly align with the values and mission of the William G. McGowan Charitable Fund,” said Diana Spencer, executive director of the Fund. “We are so proud to welcome them as the Class of 2017."

The McGowan Fellows Program was established in 2010 by the William G. McGowan Charitable Fund, a Chicago-based family foundation, whose grant-making interests are in human services, education, and healthcare and medical research. The purpose of the program is to create a select community of highly talented, emerging business leaders who are dedicated to ethical leadership and service, reflecting the spirit and interests of William G. McGowan, former chairman and CEO of MCI. There are currently 60 program alumni who hold notable positions worldwide.


Apr 7 2016
SSA to Support the McGowan Symposium

The William G. McGowan Charitable Fund welcomes Social Strategy Associates, a leading social impact consultancy, to the McGowan Fellows Program. SSA will help the Fund strengthen the program, with an eye to enriching the centerpiece, the annual McGowan Symposium on Business Leadership & Ethics. In fact, SSA supported the 2015 McGowan Symposium at Columbia University in New York City this past fall and afterward developed a survey for participants. The resulting data will guide their work.

Every year, the McGowan Symposium brings talented students—the McGowan Fellows—and renowned faculty together with recognized leaders in business and government for challenging and thought-provoking discussion on best practices in contemporary leadership. The Symposium is a living tribute to William G. McGowan, who championed ethics throughout his career as an entrepreneur and founder of MCI.

Founded by Justin Goldbach, who holds a MSc in Public Policy from the London School of Economics, SSA works primarily with corporations, family foundations, and other nonprofit organizations on philanthropy program design and management. Recently, they designed The J.M.K. Innovation Prize, an exciting new national grant-making initiative of The J.M. Kaplan Fund. Nefeli Mourti, an MBA graduate originally from Athens, Greece, will direct the McGowan Fellows Program on a day-to-day basis.


Sep 3 2015
William G. McGowan Fund Announces 2016 Fellowship Class

The William G. McGowan Charitable Fund has announced the 10 recipients of its 2016 fellowship awards. Fellowships are granted to second-year MBA students in the top five percent of their class at one of 10 U.S. partner schools that include Carnegie Mellon, Columbia, Duke, Georgetown, and Northwestern Universities; Dartmouth College; Massachusetts Institute of Technology; and the Universities of Chicago, Michigan, and Pennsylvania. In addition to academic achievement, Fellows must also exhibit outstanding leadership potential as well as strong dedication to ethics and public service.

The 2016 McGowan Fellows are Nicole Chin Bell, University of Chicago, Booth School of Business; David Alexander Cohen, Duke University, Fuqua School of Business; David Crowley, Georgetown University, McDonough School of Business; Alicia True Dagrosa, Dartmouth College, Tuck School of Business; Jonathan Erdtsieck, University of Michigan, Stephen M. Ross School of Business; Nikola Jakic, Northwestern University, Kellogg School of Management; Gabriele Massari, Columbia University, Columbia Business School; Tory Sheppard, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Sloan School of Management; Katherine Tippets, Carnegie Mellon University, Tepper School of Business; and Neil K. Vangala, University of Pennsylvania, Wharton School.

Fellows receive a full-tuition scholarship for their second-year studies, the largest cash award given by a program of this kind, and mentoring throughout the academic year from a prominent business leader selected by their home school. Fellows also participate in a social impact group project. This year’s project is sponsored by Rush University Medical Center in Chicago and will focus on strategic issues surrounding Chicago’s uninsured population.

Diana Spencer, executive director of the McGowan Fund, said, “On behalf of the McGowan Fund Board of Directors, I am delighted to welcome our sixth class of McGowan Fellows into this extraordinary community of the best and the brightest MBA students in the country. With ethical and societal concern at the forefront, the McGowan Fellows endeavor to become a generation of leaders who will better both their workplaces and communities, efforts that directly align with the values of the William G. McGowan Charitable Fund.”

The McGowan Fellows Program was established in 2010 by the William G. McGowan Charitable Fund, a Chicago-based family foundation, whose grant-making interests are in human services, education, and healthcare and medical research. The purpose of the program is to create a select community of highly talented, emerging business leaders who are dedicated to ethical leadership and service, reflecting the spirit and interests of William G. McGowan, former chairman and CEO of MCI. There are currently 50 program alumni who hold notable positions worldwide.


Sep 4 2014
William G. McGowan Fund Announces 2015 Fellowship Class

CHICAGO, IL -- The William G. McGowan Charitable Fund has announced the 10 recipients of its 2015 fellowship awards. Fellowships are granted to second-year MBA students who show outstanding leadership potential as well as strong dedication to ethics and public service. They must also be in the top five percent of their class at one of 10 U.S. partner schools that include Carnegie Mellon, Columbia, Duke, Georgetown, and Northwestern Universities; Dartmouth College; Massachusetts Institute of Technology; and the Universities of Chicago, Michigan, and Pennsylvania.

The 2015 McGowan Fellows are Rhett Andrew Braunschweig, Northwestern University, Kellogg School of Management; Leandro Brufman, University of Chicago, Booth School of Business; Julianne K. Bruno, University of Pennsylvania, Wharton School; Michael P. Cacchio, Dartmouth College, Tuck School of Business; Yumna Cheema, Columbia University, Columbia Business School; David E. Houlihan, Georgetown University, McDonough School of Business; John Irving Mahler, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Sloan School of Management; Alexander Stalker Munns, University of Michigan, Stephen M. Ross School of Business; Amanda Lynn Olar, Carnegie Mellon University, Tepper School of Business; and Jason Stewart Sierra, Duke University, Fuqua School of Business.

Fellows receive a full-tuition scholarship for their second-year studies, the largest cash award given by a program of this kind, and mentoring throughout the academic year from a prominent business leader (more) selected by their home school. Fellows also participate in a group project. This year’s project is part two of a two-year project sponsored by the American Heart Association and focuses on developing a new business case for a portfolio of national programs designed to prevent heart disease.

Diana Spencer, executive director of the McGowan Fund, said, “Every year we are thrilled with the exceptional MBA students who join our growing community of Fellows. This year’s distinctive group of aspiring leaders has demonstrated their commitment to ethical leadership and societal concern in prior jobs, through volunteerism, and university leadership roles. We are proud to welcome them as the Class of 2015.”

The McGowan Fellows program was established in 2010 by the William G. McGowan Charitable Fund, a Chicago-based family foundation, whose grant-making interests are in human services, education, and healthcare and medical research. The purpose of the program is to create a select community of highly talented, emerging business leaders who are dedicated to ethical leadership and service, reflecting the spirit and interests of William G. McGowan, former chairman and CEO of MCI. The Fund Board of Directors believes that, over time, these top-ranked Fellows will be well-positioned to exert significant influence toward the betterment of the workplace and society.

Because a core value of the Fellows Program is the importance of community, Fellows participate in a variety of activities throughout their fellowship year and beyond. The centerpiece is the Fund-sponsored annual Symposium on Business Leadership and Ethics that examines aspects of ethical leadership through the eyes of distinguished business leaders and leading academics. This year’s Symposium will take place on November 7 at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. Fellows also participate in a group project which includes a spring weekend working retreat.

Today, there are 40 McGowan alumni. Thirty-two percent hold citizenship outside the United States. They have been employed by Fortune 100 and 500 companies; organizations including Teach for America and the Clayton Christensen Institute for Disruptive Innovation; and have started entrepreneurial ventures in global healthcare and film. They share a host of accomplishments in addition to their academic and professional achievements. Among the group is a U.S. Army Bronze Star recipient, two Peace Corps volunteers, and a certified coral reef researcher.




Sep 17 2013
William G. McGowan Fund Announces 2014 Fellowship Class

William G. McGowan Charitable Fund is pleased to announce the 10 recipients of its 2014 fellowship awards. Fellowships go to second-year MBA students who show outstanding leadership ability, as well as strong dedication to ethics and community service. They must also be in the top five percent of their class at one of the Fund’s 10 partner schools, top MBA programs from across the country. 

Fellows receive a full-tuition scholarship for their second-year studies, the largest cash award given by a program of this kind, and mentoring throughout the academic year from a prominent business leader selected by their home school. Fellows also participate in a group project. This year’s project is sponsored by the American Heart Association and will focus on developing a new business case for a portfolio of national programs designed to eliminate heart disease. 




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