Hauser Center merges with the Center for Public Leadership

The following is a press release from the Office of Communications and Public Affairs on the merger of two research centers at the Harvard Kennedy School.

Two of Harvard Kennedy School’s (HKS) leading research centers will join forces.  HKS Dean David T. Ellwood has announced that the Hauser Center for Nonprofit Organizations will become the Hauser Institute for Civil Society and will reside within the Center for Public Leadership (CPL) effective July 1.

The merger will offer an extraordinary opportunity to strengthen focus on the social sector in the U.S. and overseas, enriching research in civil society and leadership while also helping to build a steady flow of talented, well prepared students for the social sector. Nearly a quarter of Harvard Kennedy School graduates now enter the nonprofit field and many more have a keen interest.

The co-directors of CPL, Professors Max Bazerman and David Gergen, will lead the new enterprise.  Christine Letts, the Rita E. Hauser Senior Lecturer in the Practice of Philanthropy and Nonprofit Leadership at HKS who currently serves as acting director of Hauser, will serve this coming year as senior advisor.

The Hauser Institute for Civil Society will build upon its extraordinary record of research, teaching and investigations into the ways that nonprofit organizations can more effectively promote the public good.  Its work has drawn together scholars and students from across the University.  The Center for Public Leadership, established in 2000, has proven to be a dynamic resource for shaping young, emerging leaders and is currently in the process of significantly enriching its research capacities.

“The integration of the Hauser Institute within the Center for Public Leadership will ensure the continuation of successful programs and initiatives focused on leadership, as well as the advancement of scholarship and teaching related to the well-being of citizens and communities,” said Harvard University President Drew Faust. “The changing nature of global challenges demands collaborative approaches and coordinated responses, and the new structure will enable Harvard to drive progress on a host of important issues that touch the lives of people around the world.”

Dean David T. Ellwood said, “Through the joining of CPL and the Hauser Center, we aim to create a new framework for addressing the big questions of our time by bringing together the leading minds to create a whole that is larger than the sum of its parts.  We are very indebted to visionary donors such as the Hausers and the Wexners for helping us to create this exciting opportunity. Their ongoing and innovative vision is a model for all of us.”

On a practical level, the merger will integrate faculty, staff, and other resources from the two centers, increasing efficiencies and providing greater opportunities for research collaboration, teaching and student engagement.

“At the Center for Public Leadership,” said Gergen, “we enthusiastically welcome the Hauser Institute as part of our family, and we have pledged to Rita and Gustave Hauser, the Hauser faculty, research fellows and staff to do everything we can to support their many worthy endeavors.  Through our joint efforts, we hope that Harvard can play an ever bigger role in strengthening the leadership and impact of the social sector.”

Bazerman, Jesse Isidor Straus Professor of Business Administration, said, “The collective aim of this merger is to capture opportunities for increased faculty and student engagement in questions about the role of nonprofits, philanthropy, civil society institutions, social movements and their leadership challenges while creating an infrastructure that deploys staff more effectively and efficiently.  Together, we can better support faculty research, student engagement and outreach to practitioners.”

“This is a very exciting collaboration for both centers,” said Letts. “It gives the new Hauser Institute momentum and support to build on our 15 years to create more knowledge and impact for civil society leaders around the world.”

The Hauser Institute within CPL will continue to maintain its current programs and initiatives, including:

  •          The Initiative for Sustainable Arts (Sustain Arts), a three-year, $4 million research initiative designed to assess the arts and cultural ecosystems of six major US cities.
  •          Philanthropic Leadership Initiatives, including the Course in Exponential Fundraising, a year-long program for nonprofit leaders focused on teaching a partnership-based fundraising model and a workshop series for Chinese Foundation leaders.
  •          The Initiative for Responsible Investment (IRI), which has been working on private sector investment for the public benefit through work with foundation leadership, pension fund trustees, civic leaders, and government officials globally on public policy and investment strategies.
  •          Its focus on international NGOs.  Through the NGO Leaders Forum, the Hauser Center has been convening the leaders of the largest international NGO’s for more than five years.

Rita Hauser, one of the founding donors of the Hauser Center noted, “We are pleased with the extraordinary success of the Hauser Center these past 15 years. It has been an important focus for the study and practice of philanthropy in the US and other countries.”

The Center for Public Leadership will continue to strengthen its current activities while also expanding operations in four critical areas:

  •          Research:  with the arrival of Professor Max Bazerman as co-director, the Center will soon launch a major new research initiative designed to leverage insights into the growing field of behavioral science.
  •          Student Fellowships: the Center is now home to five scholarship programs that provide a rich training ground for some 50 fellows a year, many of them pursuing joint degrees.  CPL is committed to doubling the number of fellowships in the coming five years.
  •          Leadership development:  building upon its past, the Center this coming school year will offer a new series of leadership development workshops, taught every Monday by leading faculty.
  •          Financial support: building upon the generous philanthropy of Les and Abigail Wexner, the Center is extremely grateful to a growing number of other donors who are building a much stronger platform for research and the development of a new generation of leaders for the common good.

“Leaders continually cross boundaries and seek leverage,” said Leslie and Abigail Wexner, founding and sustaining donors for the Center for Public Leadership.  “The merging of the Hauser Center with the Center for Public Leadership will widen and multiply our efforts to impact the public good.  We very much welcome this collaboration, as it will intensify the Kennedy School’s capacity to bring the study and practice of leadership to the forefront of the educational experience.”