The Kenneth Cole Foundation has committed to give Emory up to $600,000
to establish a program that will train Emory students in community-building
skills to mobilize residents, community-based groups, government agencies,
businesses, foundations, universities and nonprofit organizations to work
together in strengthening low-income families and rebuilding the inner-city
neighborhoods in which they live. It is expected that the initial term
of the program will be three years.
As an Emory alumnus, I have been searching for a creative way to
stay involved with the University, said Cole, a 1976 graduate of
Emory College. An idea I have struggled with over time is how to
play a role in energizing the eager and enthusiastic youth of this countryperhaps
our nations greatest resource. With that in mind,
The Kenneth Cole Foundation, in association with Emory University, has
created The Kenneth Cole Fellows in Community Building and Social Change
Program.We hope and believe that this program can help mobilize a group
of students who are willing and able to effect badly needed social change
today and tomorrow.
Cole is a trustee of the Kenneth Cole Foundation and founder, president
and chief executive officer of Kenneth Cole Productions Inc., one of the
top labels in contemporary fashion; it uses humor and social consciousness
to market shoes, clothing and accessories in more than 85 stores worldwide.
In 1985, Cole was the first member of the fashion community to take a
public stand in the fight against AIDS. Since then, he has served as a
national board member of The American Foundation for AIDS Research (amfAR).
Other social issues on which Cole has taken a public stand include homelessness,
gun control, domestic violence, capital punishment and reproductive rights.
Kenneth Cole is one of the most original, committed, innovative
and compassionate businessmen in America, said Senior Vice President
of Institutional Advancement Bill Fox. He believes this gift to
Emory will really make a difference to the local community, and I know
well be able to do that with this program.
This gift from the Kenneth Cole Foundation will allow us to expand
our efforts to integrate Emorys teaching, research and service missions
with an emphasis on serving the greater Atlanta community, said
Interim Provost Woody Hunter. Support for this program will allow
Emory to train 60 students to become agents for social change.
The Kenneth Cole Fellowship in Community Building and Social Change will
introduce 20 selected undergraduates during each of the next three years
to the challenges and opportunities for building community in contemporary
Hopefully, the fellows will explore evolving opportunities of bringing
together the public, private and not-for-profit sectors for the ultimate
benefit of all, Cole said. To the degree that we can encourage
Emory students to be more connected and committed to their surroundings
and to take ownership of the health and well being of the communities
in which we live, we will have succeeded in creating a better environment
Through academic coursework, a 12-week paid summer field experience, site
visits, small group meetings and an annual leadership conference, Kenneth
Cole Fellows will see firsthand the critical role that collaboration plays
in the resolution of important public problems, such as increasing the
supply of affordable housing, promoting comprehensive school reform, expanding
access to health care and addressing sprawl and environmental conservation.
The program also will expose students to skills and career paths needed
to launch and implement effective initiatives to build and strengthen
communities and promote social change.
Another objective of the program is to integrate Emorys teaching,
research and service missions to create more effective partnerships with
The Kenneth Cole Fellows Program will enable Emory to engage in
more intensive projects with its community partners, said Michael
Rich, associate professor of political science and director of the Office
of University-Community Partnerships (OUCP).
For example, the fellows will work on projects ranging from needs
assessment and strategic planning to comprehensive program evaluations.
These are the types of projects that are difficult to accomplish through
a service-learning course in a single semester or through the assistance
of a single intern over the course of the summer.
Hopefully, the Kenneth Cole Fellows Program will enable Emory to
support a variety of public, private and nonprofit organizations in addressing
issues of concern to the greater Atlanta community.
Faculty on the advisory committee are upbeat about the fellowship program.
This is the first comprehensive opportunity for students in Emory
College to get a theoretical base that they can then turn into active
participation with communities, said Bobbi Patterson, director of
theory practice learning and member of the committee. They can even
take it to the next step, which is to be involved in research that will
make a positive difference for the organization.
If any doubts as to the viability of this program existed at its
initial inception, there are none in the wake of Sept. 11, Cole
said. The recent tragic events have confirmed the need for this
program. We have watched in awe as people everywhere rallied together
for a common cause that is greater than any of us individually. As Ive
said before, we may not heel the world alone, but we can hope
to be an accessory.
Admission to the Kenneth Cole Fellows Program is open to Emory undergraduates
who will have completed two years of coursework by the end of the fall
Applications are due Dec. 7. Other Emory undergraduate students who may
have exceptional experience or qualifications also are eligible to apply.
Fellows will be chosen by a faculty advisory committee made up of 11 faculty
representing nine departments and programs. Applications can be obtained
by calling OUCP, 404-712-9893, which is administering the program, or
by visiting the OUCP web site (http://oucp.emory.edu).
Students selected for the program will receive a summer stipend of $3,000,
a summer housing allowance, 12 semester hours of academic credit and an
educational scholarship covering full or partial tuition for the four-credit-hour
summer field practicum, depending upon financial need.