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2019 Was a Breakthrough Year, with More to Come

A Letter from Executive Director Diana Spencer

Dear Friends,

With more than $7 million in grants and the launch of our multisite clinical trial testing the delivery of lifestyle programs for the treatment of metabolic syndrome, 2019 has been quite a year, and it’s still going strong.

This year, 10 MBA students—our McGowan Fellows, chosen from the nation’s top-tier business programs—participated in Chicago’s Point-in-Time Count, connecting with people experiencing homelessness on the subzero streets of the city. The Fellows’ research, analysis, and recommendations from their social impact project form the foundation for next year’s class, when the Fellows Class of 2020 will work with Chicago nonprofits in the area of youth homelessness.

But first, they’ll meet and discuss major issues on November 1 at MIT. This is the 10th Annual Symposium on Business Leadership & Ethics and a living component of the McGowan Fellows Program. We are fortunate to have renowned experts addressing topics such as “Overcoming Barriers, Cultures, and Divides” and “Breaking through Gridlock.”

I am thrilled to share that the 10th year brings exciting changes to the fellowship with the addition of a robust, principled leadership development program that promises to be a complimentary, stretch experience to the MBA education. In addition to exploring the McGowan principles,

Courage | Character & Integrity | Self Awareness | Empathy | Resilience | Accountability

Fellows will learn about the complexities of poverty and homelessness, work with experts in the field, strive to provide valuable tools for nonprofits working in homelessness, and develop a strong community of rising principled leaders.

In February, we hold our annual strategy meeting, where this year we will explore what our next national initiative should be. While I look forward to all board meetings, this is a favorite, when the board is able to discuss our highest hopes for improving lives. We talk about the desire for people to flourish and determine our steps for the coming years.

We will also continue to grow and enjoy time together as a family foundation. While family foundation boards conduct business just as non-family foundations do, have strong governance structures, and operate at a high level of fiduciary responsibility, a family foundation may be the only board meetings where trustees can literally shoot one another with Nerf darts!

In joyful service,

Diana Spencer