The largest gift ever to a U.S. school of social work will support student financial aid, faculty research and hiring, and community engagement initiatives focused on the challenge of inequality. Locally, the commitment will enable the school to build on a partnership with city and state agencies, social service organizations, and Chicago Public Schools and expand collaborative, evidence-based interventions.
In addition to its previous support for the school, the family also provided support for the Crown Family Chicago Odyssey Scholarship and Chicago Public Schools Scholarship, and established a Professorship in Molecular Engineering as well as the Henry Crown Professorship in Hebrew Studies. In recognition of the family's support, which now exceeds $100 million, the school will be renamed the Crown Family School of Social Work, Policy, and Practice.
"The challenges facing today's communities require innovative, interdisciplinary, and proactive solutions," said James Crown, a university trustee and past chair of the board who serves as CEO of Henry Crown and Company. "We are honored to make this investment in understanding and addressing profound societal challenges on both a local and global scale. The University of Chicago is preeminent in its emphasis on the research and development of new ideas that can influence both policy and solution-based interventions."
"The public health crisis and pronounced social divisions in our country further underscore the urgency of the School's mission," said Deborah Gorman-Smith, the Emily Klein Gidwitz Professor and dean of the School of Social Work, Policy, and Practice. "Our faculty, students and alumni, now on the frontlines providing immediate support and leadership, are leveraging research to narrow systemic gaps and inequalities. This truly transformative gift will allow us to build on our research and expand our educational mission, leading to improved policies and interventions that will make deep and sustained change."
(Photo credit: Crown family)