As communities around the world work to rebound from the global COVID-19 pandemic, more than 50 Harvard College students will be able to provide immediate help this winter break.
Through a gift from Raymond Fong ’77 and Winnie Moy, the Center for Public Service and Engaged Scholarship will launch the Fong Family Winternship Program in January 2021. This program will provide students with hands-on learning experiences, professional connections, and the ability to serve community needs.
Fong wanted to support a program that honors the life and work of his Harvard roommate, Richard Shatten ’77. “After graduating from Harvard College and Harvard Business School, Richard devoted his career to his first love: making his hometown of Cleveland a better place to live,” Fong said.
Shatten founded Cleveland Tomorrow, an organization responsible for several community revitalization projects. Shatten passed away from a brain tumor at the age of 46 and this gift honors his life-long commitment to community engagement. Fong is an ophthalmologist and serves as the board chair of the Chinatown Health Clinic Foundation in New York City. He began his work with the clinic during his time as a student.
“Harvard gave me the best education one could possibly receive and surrounded me with a wonderfully diverse, caring community that showed me how fulfilling community service could be,” Fong said. “This gift is a reflection of my gratitude and hope that future generations of Harvard students will have the same opportunity.”
“It’s inspiring to see the long-term impact of college service experiences,” said Julie Reuben, faculty director of the Center for Public Service and Engaged Scholarship. “Raymond Fong’s internship launched him on a lifetime engagement with the Chinatown Health Clinic Foundation in New York City. This gift will provide Harvard College students a similar opportunity to do meaningful work.”
Through the Fong Family Winternship Program, students will propose how to use their skills, talent, and creativity to meet a community need. Students can apply for funding to work with existing community service programs or use funding as a seed grant to develop new, innovative ideas.
“Whether it is responding to the global health pandemic or rooting out systemic racism, our programs connect students with their aspirations for a better world,” said Travis Lovett, assistant dean of civic engagement and service. Since the pandemic, the Center for Public Service and Engaged Scholarship has organized a virtual volunteer platform called Harvard Serves Everywhere and organized a Global Day of Service connecting the greater Harvard community with a diverse array of projects.
“Harvard’s winter break gives students the opportunity to seriously pursue public interest work. Through this program, students can explore their interests, gain professional work experience, and build crucial relationships with organizations, seasoned professionals, and mentors,” said Alysha Johnson Williams, director of Pathways to Practice. This program will support students who may face financial pressures to devote their winter breaks to other activities.
For more information about the Fong Family Winternship Program, visit https://publicservice.fas.harvard.edu/winternships.