Kohl Initiative greatly expands school’s impact

Attendees watch Katharine Wilkinson’s keynote address during the October 2021 La Follette Forum: Climate Policy. The La Follette Forum series is made possible by the Kohl Initiative.

Three years ago, the La Follette School received its largest gift in school history – a $10 million donation from former U.S. Senator Herb Kohl known as the Kohl Initiative.

The story of the last three years is one of tremendous growth. The Kohl Initiative has allowed the school to expand opportunities to undergraduate students through two new certificates in health policy and public policy and has provided funding for graduate students to work with faculty on nonpartisan research projects that policymakers can use to make evidence-based decisions. Earlier this year, the release of the first La Follette Policy Poll helped to point elected leaders to problems that residents agree need solving, encouraging them to work together on policy solutions.

The school’s recent expansion has also allowed us to serve as a convener of thoughtful debate and evidence-based research for moving our country forward during a time of unprecedented partisanship. The 2022 La Follette Forum: American Power, Prosperity & Democracy was the perfect example of this – hundreds of people attended to discuss issues such as threats to our country’s democracy and prosperity.

“The La Follette School truly is a leader in educating future leaders in public policy. We are reaching more people through our academic programs, public events, and faculty outreach than ever before,” says La Follette School Director Susan Yackee. “More and more, we are challenging leaders, citizens, and policymakers to pursue innovative policy solutions to our society’s most pressing problems.”

The La Follette School plans to maintain this wonderful momentum in expanding public outreach, advancing the training of future public leaders, and supporting influential research for years to come.