Stanford GSB Gets $100M to Alleviate Poverty

Posted by: Louis Lavelle on November 4, 2011

Stanford’s Graduate School of Business has received a $100 million gift, one of the largest in its history, from a well-heeled MBA alumnus for research into the elimination of poverty in the developing world through new entrepreneurial ventures.

The money from Dorothy and Robert King, along with an additional $50 million in matching funds, will fund the new Stanford Institute for Innovation in Developing Economies. If matched, it will exceed Nike founder Phil Knight’s 2006 gift to help build Stanford’s new business school campus. Robert King received his MBA at Stanford in 1960. He is the founder and former president of R. Eliot King & Associates, an investment management company based in Menlo Park, Calif.

The new institute will conduct research, educate Stanford students and entrepreneurs in developing economies, and support new ventures and existing enterprises. “Entrepreneurship, innovation, and improved management are powerful ways to help alleviate poverty,” said Stanford University President John L. Hennessy in a press release. “With tremendous foresight and compassion, the Kings have made a seminal gift that leverages Stanford’s knowledge, resources, and human capital to make a real difference in the world for many years to come.”

For more than four decades, the Kings have offered their home to international students at Stanford. One such stay resulted in Robert King providing seed funding for a Chinese-language search engine, which went public as Baidu in 2005 and now employs more than 10,000 people in China.

“We believe that innovation and entrepreneurship are the engines of growth to lift people out of poverty,” said King in a statement released by Stanford. “And we believe Stanford’s tradition of innovation, coupled with a forward-thinking global bias as well as its multidisciplinary resources, will make a real impact.”

For more on the new institute, check out the Stanford web site.

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