The American Academy of Arts and Sciences in Cambridge, Massachusetts, has announced a $5.6 million endowment gift from the Jack, Joseph, and Morton Mandel Foundation to establish the Morton L. Mandel Program for Civic Discourse and Membership Engagement.
The largest single gift in the academy's 235-year history includes $5 million to endow two new positions at the academy: the Morton L. Mandel Director for Membership, who will work to develop new collaborative forums and platforms for the academy and its more than forty-six hundred fellows, and the Morton L. Mandel Presidential Fellow, who will work directly with the president of AAAS to expand and promote public outreach, innovation, and new policy projects. The gift also will support the Distinguished Morton L. Mandel Annual Public Lecture and a series of regional lectures aimed at strengthening the academy's role in promoting discourse with the general public on important issues facing the nation and the world, as well as digital technology enhancements to the House of the Academy in Cambridge.
"The academy's founding members include John Adams, John Hancock, and James Bowdoin," said AAAS president Jonathan Fanton. "We take seriously the purpose and mission these leaders gave us to 'cultivate every art and science which may tend to advance the interest, honor, dignity, and happiness of a free, independent, and virtuous people.' The Mandel Program for Civic Discourse and Membership Engagement will connect the academy’s extraordinary membership with the public to discuss critical issues facing our country and the wider world."