John Hennessy, former president of Stanford University, interviewed Bill Meehan and Kim Jonker on Nov. 9, 2017, at an event to honor the publication of Meehan and Jonker’s new book, Engine of Impact. The Stanford Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society (PACS) hosted the gathering, which took place at the David and Joan Traitel Building, site of the new conference center of the Hoover Institution at Stanford. This video (embedded here courtesy of PACS) shows the full interview as well as the audience Q&A session that followed.
A report on the Morgan Stanley website discusses remarks by King Philanthropies CEO Kim Starkey Jonker at the 7th Annual Social Impact Exchange Conference. The gathering, cohosted by Morgan Stanley and Social Impact Exchange, brought together leaders and thinkers from the social sector to explore issues related to “the breakthrough notion of systems change.”
Jonker, in her appearance at a panel session, focused on the rigorous and systematic approach that her team takes to the foundation’s grantmaking efforts. “We try to start with a fact base, and to say, ‘Where is it that we can actually have the most impact in global poverty alleviation?’” Jonker said during the panel. This approach to philanthropy, as the report notes, “requires [donors] to go beyond simply following their passions.”
On June 10, 2017, Robert E. and Dorothy J. King—the cofounders of King Philanthropies—received honorary degrees of Doctor of Humane Letters from Dartmouth College during the college’s annual commencement activities. On the eve of that event, they offered remarks on the vision that inspires their philanthropy. This video shows those remarks, followed by the commencement proceeding at which they received their degrees.
The full text of the citation that the Kings received for their degrees is available here.
The Voice of American Learning English website has posted an article and an accompanying video segment that feature Faith Rotich, a junior at Dartmouth College who is studying there as a King Scholar. The article recounts Rotich’s journey from the town of Eldoret in Kenya to Hanover, New Hampshire, the college town that has become her home. When she arrived at Dartmouth in the fall of 2014, Rotich recalls, she was immediately inspired by her new surroundings: “I felt some kind of happiness, that I want to explore this place, I want to know what it’s like. Then later on … I met some wonderful students who immediately made me feel like I really belong here.”
Both the article and the video cover the adjustment challenges that international students often face when they begin studying at an American university. As Rotich notes, the critical thinking skills that students learn in their coursework may affect their attitudes toward the culture in which they grew up. But ultimately, she says in the video, students like her are able to integrate their new learning with what they learned in their home country: “We learn how to think about things the right way, and [do] not necessarily … ‘get lost.’”
Photograph courtesy of Voice of America.
To illuminate the achievements of business leaders who have engaged with the Seed Transformation Program (STP)—and to inspire prospective STP applicants—Stanford Seed has produced a series of video portraits that feature STP participants. The series is called Profiles in Purpose, it includes an introductory episode (“The Problem Solvers”), which is embedded here, along with eight episodes that cover individual entrepreneurs. “Seed, for me, actually is the number-one game changer,” says Afolabi Abiodun, founder of SB Telecoms in Nigeria, in the introductory video.
You can access all videos in the Profiles in Purpose series here.
Marc Sepama and Theo Wilson exemplify the promise of the King Scholar Leadership Program at Dartmouth.
By Charlotte Albright
When they marched onto the Green at Dartmouth College for the commencement ceremony on June 11, Marc Sepama, from Burkina Faso, and Theo Wilson, from Jamaica, became the first King Scholars to graduate from the college.
As undergraduates, Sepama and Wilson participated in the King Scholar Leadership Program, which Dottie and Bob King started in 2012. At commencement, both Kings received honorary degrees, as President Phil Hanlon noted at the ceremony, for their “compassion, generosity, and profound commitment to improving the quality of life in impoverished nations around the world.”
Sepama (shown in the photo below) and Wilson (shown in the photo above) say they are proud to be the first graduates of a program that prepares international students to fight global poverty. And they feel close to the couple who helped them come to Dartmouth.
The Kings, who have donated more than $35 million to the program, are international investors and partners in philanthropy. They often open their Menlo Park, Calif., home to the scholars in the program. “The Kings treat us like family,” Sepama says. “Having that personal connection to them—it’s very nice.”
“Marc and I share a love for music,” says Dottie King. “When he came over for Thanksgiving, I played Sinatra for him, one of my favorites.” King says she tries to be a mother to the King Scholars because they are far from home when they attend Dartmouth. Sepama and Wilson, she says, “are both wonderful. Sensitive, humble, and kind.”
They are also ambitious, says Bob King. “I’m so proud of them. The idea behind all this is to help them become future leaders—genuine leaders and innovators in their countries. They represent that promise.”
Sixty years after receiving a bachelor’s degree from Dartmouth College, Bob King will receive an honorary doctorate in humane letters from that institution, according an announcement released by the college. His wife, Dottie King, will join him in receiving that honor. Dartmouth president Phil Hanlon will bestow this honor on the Kings at commencement ceremonies on June 11.
Dartmouth will award honorary degrees to nine people in all, including the journalist and CNN news anchor Jake Tapper, the actress and playwright Anne Deavere Smith, and the champion runner and Olympic athlete Abbey D’Agostino. The announcement highlights the Kings’ role as donors for the King Scholar Leadership Program at Dartmouth. “The King Scholars program, launched at Dartmouth in 2012, will graduate its first two students this year,” the announcement notes.
A new scholarship program jointly funded by Bob and Dottie King and John and Tashia Morgridge will sponsor its first cohort of students in the fall of 2017, according to an article posted by University of Wisconsin–Madison News. The program will enable students from developing countries to pursue a four-year undergraduate degree at UW–Madison. Six students per year will join the King-Morgridge Scholars Program, which aims to equip graduates to build careers in their home countries that will help to advance development and alleviate poverty.
Dottie King, as the article notes, has deep roots in Madison; she grew up there and attended the university in the 1950s. The Morgridges also have strong personal connections to the university. “I am thrilled that the King and Morgridge families chose to make this investment in international education at UW–Madison. This is a phenomenal opportunity for international students to explore solutions to major world problems alongside our domestic students,” says Rebecca Blank, chancellor of UW–Madison.
The cover story in the January/February 2017 issue of Stanfordmagazine presents a long and wide-ranging survey of some of the people and companies that are benefiting from the Stanford Seed initiative. The article, for example, quotes O.T. Aderinwale, CEO of a discount retail chain in Nigeria. “My brain just opened. . . . I became a changed person,” she says, referring to the impact of a module on design thinking that she took as part of the Seed Transformation Program, a yearlong course that combines MBA-style executive education with intensive coaching support.
The article also elaborates on the origin and motivation of the $150 million gift by Bob and Dottie King that led to the creation of Stanford Seed. “When I think about how incredibly fortunate we have been over our adult lives, . . . we feel we are called to be a blessing to others,” says Bob King. His and Dottie’s goal in making the gift, he adds, is nothing less than “to solve poverty by job creation.” Another goal of Stanford Seed is equally ambitious: According to Jesper B. Sørensen, faculty director and executive director, he and his colleagues aim to make Stanford University “the leading research university for thinking about the challenges of poverty in the developing world.”
In the Winter 2016 issue of Philanthropy magazine, William Foster and Gail Perrault contribute a report on research conducted by the Bridgespan Group that highlights a notable shortcoming in U.S. philanthropy. According to Foster and Perrault, there is an “aspiration gap” between donors’ stated interest in tackling major social problems and their actual willingness to make “big bets” on solutions to those problems.
To inform this analysis, the Bridespan team created a database of gifts made from 2000 to 2012 that totaled $10 million or more. The gifts had to come from U.S. donors, and they had to be designed not to provide “institutional support,” but rather to achieve “social change.” Foster and Perrault specifically cite the donation that led to the founding of Stanford Seed. “We [included] big university gifts that specifically focused on social change, such as Robert and Dorothy King’s gift of $150 million to found the Stanford Institute for Innovation in Developing Economies, which aims to fight poverty in the poorest parts of the world,” they write.
The University of Wisconsin–Madison News site announced in a 2015 article that Bob and Dottie King had made a $10 million gift to support research both at the Center for Investigating Healthy Minds, part of the Waisman Center at UW–Madison, and at the university’s School of Education. The gift was targeted at psychological and neuroscientific research on youth development.
One objective of the gift, according to the article, was to fund the work of Professor Richard Davidson, founder of the Center for Investigating Healthy Minds. “We’re thrilled to collaborate with UW–Madison in our determination to help disadvantaged youth reach their full potential,” said Dottie King, an alumna of the university. “We believe the work of Richard Davidson and his colleagues at the center will have a tremendous impact and help thousands—if not millions—of youth thrive.”
In an article published in 2012, Dartmouth News described a gift by Bob and Dottie King to create what is now called the King Scholar Leadership Program. The program provides chosen students from developing countries with full scholarships to pursue an undergraduate degree at Dartmouth.
In making the gift, the Kings worked with the college to design a program that would equip and encourage scholarship recipients to return to their home countries to pursue careers in poverty alleviation.
The article quoted Jim Yong Kim, who was then president of Dartmouth (and is now president of the World Bank): “With this gift, the Kings are investing in the fundamental connection between education and the ability of people and nations to take control of their own futures. … Dartmouth’s mission is to prepare graduates who will make a positive difference in the world, and I’m confident the King Scholars will embody that mission.”
In 2012, The New York Times announced a donation of $150 million by Bob and Dottie King to Stanford University to create the Stanford Institute for Innovation in Developing Economics (also known as Stanford Seed), a center based at Stanford Graduate School of Business that aims to reduce poverty by promoting entrepreneurship and job creation.
The Times quoted Bob King on the core motivation behind the gift: “More than a billion people live on less than $1.25 a day. That’s just not right.” In addition, the newspaper quoted Dottie King on the reason for making the gift to Stanford: “The relationships the university has in Silicon Valley, the range of expertise it has among its professors—it can’t be replicated. The university can make our money more fruitful than we could on our own.”