Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (CZI) Sponsors 15-Year Initiative with Phillips Brooks House

November 13, 2017

Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (CZI) Sponsors 15-Year Initiative with Phillips Brooks House

For students who struggle financially with dedicating a summer or more to public service, today’s sponsorship announcement from the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (CZI) is an exciting step toward making transformative public service experiences accessible to all Harvard students. The 15-year grant totaling $12.1 million from CZI will enable Harvard to waive the summer earnings contributions for students receiving financial aid who dedicate their summer to public service. In the past, students who received financial aid were expected to contribute up to $2,600 of their summer earnings toward fall tuition expenses.

Any student receiving financial aid who participates in the Mindich Service Fellowship program with the Center for Public Interest Careers (CPIC), the Phillips Brooks House Association (PBHA) Summer Urban Program, and the Institute of Politics (IOP) Director’s Internship Program will have their summer earnings contribution waived. Through the Mindich Service Fellowships, 75 students work with leading nonprofit and social services organizations across the country. Mindich Fellows are paired with mentors from Harvard’s alumni/ae network and participate in regional public service activities. The CZI gift also sponsors PBHA’s Stride initiative, which provides year-round development, mentoring, and scholarships to nearly 50 low-income students each year.

Priscilla Chan ’07 said volunteering as a student with PBHA’s Franklin After School Enrichment program was an inspirational time in her life that influenced her decision to become a pediatrician. Public service “nourishes your soul… it makes us better at what we do,” Chan said to a crowd of approximately 50 students and staff at a reception today at Phillips Brooks House. CZI is dedicated to fostering civic leaders from diverse communities and part of that engagement involves removing obstacles for outstanding students to commit themselves to service.

“I’ve been given so much in life out of nothing but coincidence and circumstance,” said Ana Chaves ’18. “I believe those of us who are lucky enough to have our needs met are indebted to the rest. It is our responsibility to multiply these opportunities and repay them.”

Chaves spent her summer with the Center for Public Interest Careers as a Mindich Service Fellow at Innovations for Poverty Action in Washington, DC, examining core research questions related to global poverty issues. She said this immersive experience helped her to discover the work of other organizations, such as the Jameel Poverty Action Lab at MIT, one of Harvard’s partners at this fall’s Public Service Recruiting Day.

Connie Cheng ’18 said she spends most of her waking hours engaged in service. Cheng has committed each of her summers to public service work, most recently serving as a Director’s Intern through the IOP and as a Liman Public Interest Law Fellow with CPIC, in addition to serving as the Vice President of PBHA. The CZI grant will enable a future generation of Harvard students to find meaningful pathways to engage and serve others.

“I owe this passion to public service opportunities at Harvard,” Chaves said. “For me this passion started right here, right at home.”


Part of the CZI grant will also sponsor a project that explores student and alumni/ae pathways into public service work. Alums who want to stay engaged with CPIC and public service initiatives at Harvard are encouraged to fill out a short survey. For more information about today’s announcement with CZI, please visit the Harvard Gazette.