Advancing the education of exceptionally promising students who have financial need

Foundation Appoints Distinguished Psychologist As New Executive Director


Harvard Psychologist Lawrence Kutner To Head Jack Kent Cooke Foundation

Co-Founder of Harvard Medical School Center for Mental Health and Media
Replaces Matthew Quinn Who Will Retire

Lansdowne, VA – The Jack Kent Cooke Foundation today named nationally known psychologist, author, and columnist Dr. Lawrence Kutner as its new Executive Director.  He will succeed founding Executive Director Dr. Matthew Quinn, who is retiring after nearly ten years.   Kutner will begin his tenure on September 1. 

Kutner is co-founder and co-director of the Center for Mental Health and Media at Massachusetts General Hospital and teaches psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.  For seven years, he wrote the internationally syndicated, award-winning "Parent & Child" column for the New York Times and was a child development columnist and contributing editor of Parents and Parenting magazines for more than a decade. He also is the author of six books on child development and parent-child communication, including the recently published book he co-authored entitled Grand Theft Childhood: The Surprising Truth About Violent Video Games and What Parents Can Do.  Since 1991, he has served as the president of Health Communication Consultants, Inc. in Belmont, Massachusetts.  

Kutner’s personal history closely mirrors the profiles of children and young adults that the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation serves. His father died when he was eight years old, leaving the family struggling financially. He was raised in the Bronx by an immigrant mother who never finished high school. His mother died when he was a teenager. 

“The transformative experience of my life—the event that significantly changed my trajectory as an adult—was receiving a scholarship to attend a private school with a rigorous curriculum and caring adults,” he says. “Their support both inside and outside the classroom helped me envision a future far different from what I otherwise would have imagined.”   

“Dr. Kutner understands at a highly personal level how educational opportunity can change the life of a child for the better and how much that change can mean to the child and the family,” says Stuart A. Haney, president of the Foundation’s Board. “He clearly understands that Foundation Scholars are not simply passive recipients of financial aid but are actively engaged in bettering their own lives as well as the lives of others,” he adds.
Since its inception in 2000, the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation has awarded 1,200 scholarships totaling more than $60 million and given almost $46 million in grants to nonprofit organizations with comparable programs and missions.  The Foundation’s three core scholarship programs advance the education of exceptionally promising high school, college, and graduate students with financial need.  In addition to these scholarships, the Foundation provides support to help selective colleges better serve lower-income community college transfer students; to improve college guidance to exceptionally promising low-income students; and to enhance elementary and middle school programs that help low-income children achieve at high levels in academics and the arts.   

Dr. Kutner also is a national Emmy award-winning television documentary producer and reporter, who has worked for public radio and television. He sits on the board of the Rosalyn Carter Fellowships for Mental Health Journalism at the Carter Center in Atlanta. In addition to Harvard, he has been on the faculties of the University of Minnesota and Michigan State University.

Dr. Kutner received his bachelor's degree from Oberlin College in Ohio and his Ph.D. in clinical psychology from the University of Minnesota. He also trained at the Mayo Clinic. His wife, Dr. Cheryl Olson, will join him in Virginia.  They have a son, Michael, who attends Oberlin College and a Romanian foster son, Flavius Stan, who lives in Italy.

About the Foundation

The Jack Kent Cooke Foundation is a private foundation dedicated to helping young people of exceptional promise reach their full potential through education. The Foundation provides challenging opportunities to high achievers from lower-income families through its Young Scholars Program, generous scholarships for undergraduate and graduate study, and grants to nonprofit organizations and educational institutions.  To learn more, visit our website at






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