The Wharton School announced the creation of the John M. Bendheim Loan Forgiveness Fund for Public Service, which is designed to encourage Wharton M.B.A. graduates to pursue careers in the public and not-for-profit sectors. Awards from the fund will be used to help cover the cost of the M.B.A. graduates’ educational debt obligations. A $2.5 million grant from the Leon Lowenstein Foundation established the Bendheim Fund. John M. Bendheim, W ’40, and his son, Thomas L. Bendheim, who earned his M.B.A. from Wharton and an M.A. from SAS as part of a joint degree program at the Lauder Institute in 1990, are directors of the Leon Lowenstein Foundation.
“This is a very important gift for Wharton, as it strengthens our commitment to public and not-for-profit managerial leadership worldwide,” said Wharton Dean Patrick Harker. “This commitment stems from the vision of our founder, Joseph Wharton, who wanted our graduates to be leaders in the public and not-for-profit sectors as well as in business. Our graduates have deep interest in participating in public service, and this gift will help them pursue careers in these sectors. Recipients of aid from the Bendheim Loan Forgiveness Fund will continue the proud tradition of Joseph Wharton, and lead in the achievement of important social and public policy goals across the globe.”
Thomas L. Bendheim stated, “As graduates of Wharton, my father and I have observed first-hand the tremendous talent coming out of Wharton each year. Through our own work in the not-for-profit field, we see the need for the business skills and experience that Wharton graduates could provide. We also know that many Wharton students are interested in public service careers, but that their educational debt burden may inhibit them from pursuing these jobs since they tend to provide lower compensation than the for-profit sector. Our gift will help level this playing field, and enable more Wharton graduates to bring their outstanding talent and drive to the public and not-for-profit field.”
To maximize its impact, $1 million of the $2.5 million grant will be used to establish the Bendheim Challenge. Any new commitment made to Wharton for endowed undergraduate, M.B.A. or Ph.D. financial aid during the defined challenge period will be matched at a 1:2 ratio for the Challenge. The challenge period will be in effect for five years, from 2005-2009, or until Wharton raises the additional $2 million to meet the Challenge. The $1 million in payments from the Lowenstein Foundation for the Bendheim Challenge will be added to the John M. Bendheim Loan Forgiveness Fund for Public Service.
Awards for the Bendheim Loan Forgiveness Fund are to be based on commitment to the public and/or not-for-profit sectors, long-term career goals and financial need. The program is a partnership between the Wharton School and its M.B.A. award recipients, which involves commitments by both parties to cover the cost of M.B.A. graduates’ debt obligations and meet the growing need for public and not-for-profit professionals with managerial and leadership skills. Each award recipient will be asked to become a mentor and resource for current Wharton M.B.A. students interested in careers in these sectors.
The Leon Lowenstein Foundation was incorporated in New York in October 1941 as a charitable foundation with general philanthropic interests. Its founder, Leon Lowenstein, was the chairman and chief executive officer of M. Lowenstein Corporation, a major textile company and a Fortune 500 corporation. The primary grant interests of the foundation are medical research and health, and education. The foundation has a long history of support for Wharton through creative approaches to faculty research and student financial aid.
Almanac, Vol. 52, No. 7, October 11, 2005