Ford School Leadership Initiative expands with Meijer Foundation gift

September 14, 2020

With a generous gift from the Meijer Foundation, the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy will expand programming that helps students develop leadership skills needed for outstanding public service. 

“Hank Meijer and the Meijer Foundation are great believers in the Ford School mission to educate the next generation of public policy leaders,” said Michael S. Barr, dean of the Ford School. “I am deeply grateful for their gift, which reflects the Meijer family’s commitment to the development of leadership grounded in service, and public policy grounded in evidence. We are excited about the long-term impact of the Leadership Initiative on our students, and on the organizations and public they will go on to serve.”

The Ford School defines leadership as having the skills to have a positive influence on others, organizations and communities. For the past two years, the Ford School has piloted various aspects of the Leadership Initiative and engaged faculty in program design. The Meijer Foundation’s contribution will expand offerings in student assessments and skills workshops; individualized and group leadership coaching for Master’s of Public Policy students during their internships; professional development opportunities; leadership and management coursework; and connections with practitioners to engage with students through workshops, lectures, events, and courses. 

Previously, the Meijer Foundation made a leadership gift to help establish the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Fellowship, which enables the school to attract top graduate students who seek careers in public service. In addition, the Meijer Foundation endowed a significant lecture series at the Ford School to honor the legacy of U.S. Senator Arthur Vandenberg (b. 1884-d. 1951) and his commitment to international cooperation.