The University of Chicago’s school of social work has just received the promise of a “landmark” $75 million gift, the largest ever offered to an American school of social work, the university announced Wednesday.
The gift comes courtesy of James and Paula Crown and their family, and will allow the school to help students pay for their education, support faculty research and hiring and work even more effectively with communities and individuals as they try to tackle inequality and related social ills.
The University of Chicago is already known for its contributions in the field of social work, but not only because of the School of Social Service Administration, which will now be renamed the Crown Family School of Social Work, Policy and Practice. The school is also affiliated with the influential Chapin Hall Center for Children, a research organization with which it frequently partners.
Through interdisciplinary research, training, policy advocacy and direct community engagement on issues related to poverty, health disparities, crime, educational inequality and child and family welfare, the Crown Family School of Social Work, Policy and Practice seeks to address the problems of society’s most vulnerable people.
“The challenges facing today’s communities require innovative, interdisciplinary and proactive solutions,” said billionaire James Crown, a university trustee and past chairman of the board, who serves as CEO of Henry Crown and Co., a family-owned investment firm. “We are honored to make this investment in understanding and addressing profound societal challenges on both a local and global scale.”
The $75 million gift will bring the Crown family’s total giving in support of social work, education and access at University of Chicago to more than $100 million.
The university said the cash infusion will have a noticeable, direct impact in the Chicago area, particularly in the city’s public schools, and throughout Illinois.