Georgetown University’s McCourt School of Public Policy has received a $100 million investment from alumnus and civic entrepreneur Frank H. McCourt Jr. (C’75) to build a diverse pipeline of leaders poised to strengthen our civic architecture.
With a transformative $50 million for financial aid and scholarships, the investment will increase access for students seeking a policy education. The commitment is an important step toward removing barriers for tomorrow’s policy makers and public servants—and catalyzes Georgetown’s ambition to build the nation’s most inclusive school of public policy. The additional $50 million will ensure the school can continue making critical foundational investments in faculty and research.
‘An extraordinary vision’
This investment doubles down on the commitment Frank McCourt and Georgetown made in 2013 to establish the school—with an initial $100 million gift from McCourt—and to build a powerful force for advancing the common good through teaching, research, and service. That vision was grounded in a belief that tomorrow’s leaders must draw on diverse experiences and perspectives in order to achieve transformational impact.
“With this support, we will be able to come that much closer to realizing our aspiration—that there will be no barrier for pursuing public service,” says Georgetown University President John J. DeGioia. “Frank has articulated an extraordinary vision for this work, deepening our commitment to ethical, inclusive, and impactful public policy 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,” says Frank McCourt. “Too often, the people most impacted by problems like economic inequality or extractive technology aren’t at the policy-making table. 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.”
Strengthening the pipeline of diverse talent
The McCourt School seeks to reduce the student loan debt that too often precludes public service and to ensure tomorrow’s leaders come from a wide array of backgrounds, ensuring diversity of thought and experience, says McCourt School Dean Maria Cancian. “Having greater financial aid will both allow us to attract a broader set of students, and also allow us to graduate students with the ability to go out and work for the common good,” Cancian says.
Most immediately, Frank McCourt’s investment in the McCourt School will enable participants in the National Urban Fellows (NUF) program to attend tuition-free in the 2021-22 academic year. In 2018, the McCourt School was selected as the sole academic home of the 50-year-old NUF graduate program dedicated to developing mid-career professionals, especially people of color, to be leaders and change agents in the public and nonprofit sectors. In August 2020, the NUF-McCourt School partnership graduated its first cohort of Master of Policy Management students—overwhelmingly first-generation college graduates.
With the new investment, the McCourt School looks forward to deepening its collaboration with NUF and other organizations that share Georgetown’s dedication to building a pipeline of changemakers across the many dimensions of diversity.
Since its founding, the school has forged a number of partnerships with institutions such as Howard University, Lead for America, COLFUTURO, and the Joint Chiefs of Staff, all of which strengthen McCourt classrooms with a diversity of perspective and lived experience.
“I’m hugely optimistic about the McCourt School and Georgetown’s role in the world,” McCourt says. “I’m very excited about the commitment to inclusion. I’m very excited about the commitment to being a school known for its impact. Watching the McCourt School’s evolution has been a source of great joy to me.”
To learn more, visit http://georgetown.edu/2021McCourtinvestment.