President Pasquerella Takes Anti-Poverty Lead

Earlier this year, Mount Holyoke President Lynn Pasquerella was among 28 leaders in higher education who organized the Presidents’ Pledge Against Global Poverty, an initiative to help end extreme poverty and focus attention on the positive impact of personal philanthropy. The charter members of the pledge are each contributing five percent or more of their personal income each year to organizations that fight the causes or effects of extreme poverty.

Pasquerella has now been named chair of a group of pledge presidents who are looking to expand the impact of the pledge. Working with Nan Keohane, president emerita of Duke University and Wellesley College, and Kevin Reilly, president of the University of Wisconsin System, Pasquerella will lead efforts to recruit new members, launch campus and community-based support activities, and raise public awareness about the Pledge Against Global Poverty.

At least half of each president’s contributions fund international projects; up to half may be designated for anti-poverty efforts in the United States. The initiative enlists presidents, chancellors, past presidents, and presidents emeriti in an effort to reach the United Nations Millennium Development Goals and engage the next generation of global citizens in poverty solutions.

"As Mount Holyoke's president, I am committed to promoting our mission of using liberal learning for purposeful engagement in the world through personal action," said Pasquerella. "Addressing the paradox of plenty, where billions live in poverty, while others live in affluence, is one of the most significant moral challenges of our time. Collectively, those of us who have signed the presidents' anti-poverty pledge can make in difference in redressing human rights violations that are inextricably linked to poverty."

The Presidents’ Pledge Against Global Poverty is aligned with Bolder Giving, a 501(c)(3) organization. The project received development support from a private donor and a special grant from the Henry Luce Foundation. The charitable contributions of participating presidents are made individually and directly to organizations of their choosing that work to alleviate poverty.

Charter members of the Presidents’ Pledge Against Global Poverty represent a cross-section of leadership at public and private universities nationwide, including presidents from the institutional members of the American Council on Education, the Association of Public and Land Grant Universities, the Council of Independent Colleges, the Association of American Colleges and Universities, the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities, the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities, and other groups.