The Harbus Foundation Grants $60,000 to Boston Nonprofits at Annual Gala

Generations Incorporated, literacy grant recipient. From left to right: Marcheta Schroeder (HBS ’18), Evan Hentschel (HBS ’19), Philip Hootsmans (HBS ’19), La Raye Myers, Katie Brown, Sumit Malik (HBS ’19)
Sumit Malik, Editor-in-Chief

The Harbus Foundation has announced a total of $60,000 in grant awards to Boston-based nonprofit organizations Empower Schools, Generations Incorporated, and GroundTruth. The recipients took home $20,000 each in the categories of Education, Literacy, and Journalism, respectively, following the Harbus Foundation’s annual gala.

The K-12 education efforts of Empower Schools, the Education grant recipient, have pushed the bounds of possibility for broad-based district reform. Through partnerships with state education agencies, principals, and teachers, the organization facilitates the creation of networks of schools in Empowerment Zones, which operate with a high-autonomy, high-accountability framework. The consequence is greater efficiency, improved adaptability, and an increased ability to attract talented educators, providing a way forward for stagnant or underperforming schools.

Empower Schools, education grant recipient. From left to right: Cara McKenna, Alyssa Schechter, Kate McLaughlin (HBS ’19), Maura Lynch (HBS ’19), Francie Alexandre (HBS ’19)

Generations Incorporated, the Literacy grant awardee, adopts an innovative approach to efficiently addressing the literacy crisis in Boston Public Schools, where two-thirds of students currently fail to read at or above their grade level at the end of grade three. By training older adult volunteers as reading tutors and connecting them with young children in under-resourced communities, Generations Incorporated simultaneously provides much-needed guidance to struggling students and fulfilling, engaging service opportunities to the elderly. This model has enabled the organization to amplify its community impact, with a corps of over 260 older adult volunteers, who devote as many as 15 hours per week throughout a full school year, managed by a lean staff of only 15 people.

GroundTruth, the grant recipient in the Journalism category, supports opportunities for emerging, young journalists to report on issues of global importance. The organization places special emphasis on enterprise journalism based on content creation through firsthand reporting “from the ground,” as well as engagement with social justice topics, including political reform in developing countries, efforts to combat climate change, opportunities and challenges in global health, and basic human rights. Through team-driven, multimedia reporting and partnerships with blue-chip news media, GroundTruth enables emerging journalists to generate and distribute differentiated content while building cross-cultural understanding necessary for objective, influential reporting.

GroundTruth, journalism grant recipient. From left to right: Justin Blumenthal (HBS ’19), Rachel Rohr, Josefin Muehlbauer (HBS ’18), Anne O’Brien, Samir Junnarkar (HBS ’19)

Since its founding in 1997 by the Harbus News Corporation, The Harbus Foundation has allocated over $1 million to high-impact nonprofits that support the community in which Harvard Business School operates. The Harbus News Corporation, which is celebrating its 81st anniversary this year, has turned to the foundation to effectively allocate funds accumulated through the newspaper’s operations, including advertising revenues from The Harbus and sales proceeds from the MBA Admissions & Interview Guide and the MBA Essay Guide.

The Harbus Foundation is entirely run by HBS students, whose roles are divided into grantmaking and endowment management. The grantmaking function includes dedicated teams for Education, Literacy, and Journalism that each screen for standout organizations, invite a select group of semifinalists to submit grant applications, interview and conduct due diligence on finalists, and ultimately make a recommendation on grant recipients. Grantmaking criteria include sustainable and measurable contribution to the community, impact on the Greater Boston area, and opportunity for a Harbus Foundation grant to meaningfully facilitate the organization’s mission. The Harbus Foundation’s investment team manages the organization’s endowment, which currently stands at $1.4 million.

Sumit Malik (MBA ’19) is an investor, writer, and entrepreneur. Professionally, his background is in venture capital and private equity at Warburg Pincus, strategy as a board member of Santander Asset Management Chile, and investment banking at Goldman Sachs. Personally, he writes for academic and popular publications and performs music and poi (light- or fire-spinning). He previously received an A.B., summa cum laude, from Harvard College and an S.M. from the Harvard Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. Follow him on Twitter @sumitxmalik.