With a $750,000 grant from the Harry A. and Margaret D. Towsley Foundation, the Ford School will grow its innovative Leadership Initiative.
Launched as a pilot in the 2019-2020 academic year, the Ford School’s Leadership Initiative offers courses, programming, and coaching that complement the school’s renowned academic rigor and emphasis on analytic training, as well as writing and communication skills.
The new Towsley funding will strengthen and expand the Leadership Initiative by providing all MPP students with access to leadership coaching during their required summer internships; increasing assessment opportunities for all master’s and bachelor’s students; and offering new coursework, skills workshops, and opportunities to interact with policy leaders.
“I am so grateful for the Towsley Foundation’s continued generosity to help prepare the next generation of public policy leaders grounded in service,'' says Dean Michael S. Barr. “We have long been respected as the leading public policy school for policy analysis, and with a similar focus we are developing the next generation of leaders advancing the public good.”
We have long been respected as the leading public policy school for policy analysis, and with a similiar focus we are developing the next generation of leaders advancing the public good.Dean Michael S. Barr
The Ford School’s innovative model for leadership development integrates critical leadership skills into core competencies and coursework, as well as provides opportunities for assessments and coaching for all master's students. Students work to understand their own leadership styles, and those of others, build diverse and effective teams, communicate across differences, and more effectively envision and navigate change for the public good.
"Through their generous support of the Leadership Initiative, the Towsley Foundation's gift further enables our students to enact the positive change they want to see in the world," said Morela Hernandez, the incoming faculty director of the Leadership Initiative.
In 2020, a generous gift from the Meijer Foundation enabled an early-stage expansion of the Ford School’s Leadership Initiative and laid the groundwork for bringing the program to scale.
The Harry A. and Margaret D. Towsley Foundation has supported many educational initiatives at the Ford School. In 2015, the Ford School launched the Riecker Michigan Delegation Fellowship with Towsley Foundation support. The program sends two students each Winter semester to support members of Michigan’s DC delegation. Since 2002, the Harry A. and Margaret D. Towsley Foundation Policymaker in Residence Program has been of significant benefit to the Ford School, bringing policy leaders with significant local, state, national, and international experience to teach and mentor students and become part of the faculty.
About the Harry A. and Margaret D. Towsley Foundation
The Harry A. and Margaret D. Towsley Foundation was established in 1959 by Margaret Dow Towsley. The Foundation seeks to continue Dr. and Mrs. Towsley’s legacy of strengthening communities and improving lives through effective philanthropy which supports those who offer creative and sustainable approaches to problems of the ever-changing world.