Harvard Kennedy School (HKS) announced today the creation of the Sheila C. Johnson Fellowships, which are slated to bring to HKS each year ten emerging leaders dedicated to improving the lives of the underserved in the United States, including those in the African-American community.

“We need to develop more leaders with a broad skill set to serve African-American and other under-resourced communities,” Johnson, current founder and CEO of Salamander Hotels & Resorts, explained. “An ability to work across sectors—public, private, and nonprofit—and to inspire innovative politics will help bring the sustainable improvements that these communities desperately need.”

Johnson’s $5 million gift will cover a five-year period—ultimately supporting 50 fellows—and will provide full tuition, health coverage, and a generous stipend toward any HKS graduate degree, including one obtained through HKS’s joint or concurrent degree programs with other schools.

The Center for Public Leadership (CPL) at HKS, which is led by Co-Directors David Gergen and Max Bazerman and Executive Director Patti Bellinger, will serve as a home base for the fellows on campus, providing a leadership development and cocurricular programming that will complement their academic work. Johnson, who is a member of CPL’s new Leadership Council and has joined the Executive Committee of the Kennedy School, is eager to see the fellows linked closely with an extensive network of alumni, mentors, and practitioners around the world.

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