New Gift from Robert and Penny Fox Adds Global Dimension to Fox Leadership Program at Penn

February 5, 2015

A new $5 million gift from Robert and Penny Fox to the Fox Leadership Program at the University of Pennsylvania will create Fox Leadership International, adding a global dimension to all of the program’s initiatives.

The Robert A. Fox Leadership Program already engages thousands of students each year with its “study and serve” mission, accomplished through a combination of coursework, advising, events, and service experiences. Robert A. Fox, C’52, and Penny Grossman Fox, ED’53, established the program in 1999 and permanently endowed it with a gift of $10 million in 2007. Their gift of $5 million in 2013 expanded the program and established four new scholarships in Penn Arts and Sciences.  The Foxes’ total giving to the program exceeds $33 million.

“For 15 years, Robert and Penny Fox have stood by our side in creating and advancing a path-breaking program that prepares countless students for leadership and service-learning careers benefitting their personal and professional lives,” said Penn President Amy Gutmann. “Fox Leadership International is another shining jewel in the crown of the Foxes’ legacy at Penn.”

Fox Leadership International (FLI) builds on current global initiatives and creates new programs to add a robust international component to every facet of Fox’s mission. It has already tested one initiative, working with Penn’s Fels Institute of Government to organize a three-week leadership training and cultural exchange program that brought 46 students to campus from Jiangsu Province in China last summer. FLI China will make the program an annual event and will craft other initiatives that send Penn staff and fellows to China.

Fox has also already piloted several service-learning programs in Africa, and these will be expanded and multiplied through FLI Africa. FLI European Union will place Fox fellows with the presidents, prime ministers, or consul generals of EU nations.

“The Foxes’ profound generosity has enabled us to prepare hundreds of Penn students for leadership roles locally and nationally,” said Penn Arts and Sciences Dean Steven J. Fluharty. “Now they have provided the resources to expand the Fox Leadership program globally, giving our most talented and committed students the opportunity to serve and learn through internships in China, the European Union, and Africa.”

FLI will also add internationally focused content to Fox events, workshops, and teaching. John DiIulio, Frederic Fox Leadership Professor of Politics, Religion, and Civil Society and faculty director of the Fox program, said, “FLI is a big leap, but we have the information, experience, and partnerships to make it work.”

Robert Fox is the chairman and CEO of R.A.F. Industries Inc., a private investment company that acquires and manages a diversified group of middle market companies located across the United States. He is an emeritus trustee at Penn and received the University’s Alumni Award of Merit in 1999. Penny Fox serves on the boards of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Moore College of Art and Design, and the Pennsylvania Ballet. In addition to establishing the Fox Leadership Program, the Foxes support a variety of other areas of the University, including faculty, Penn Medicine, athletics, and student life.