Politico: Jack Kent Cooke Foundation Evolves

With help from Allie Grasgreen, Maggie Severns and Nirvi Shah

JACK KENT COOKE FOUNDATION EVOLVES: If you’ve been watching the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation for the last year, you might’ve noticed a shift. Since former New York City Schools Chancellor Harold Levy was named executive director last August, the private foundation has been making some changes. One of the largest scholarship organizations in the country, the foundation targets high-performing, low-income children. But in recent months, JKCF has done more than just dole out scholarships. The foundation has boosted its media strategy and has taken on a number of projects and partnerships to raise visibility. If you’ve never heard of JKCF, Levy wants to put it on your radar. He said wants the scholarships to have the same name recognition as the Rhodes Scholarships. And he wants people to know the foundation does way more to help disadvantaged students. One endeavor that has earned JKCF national attention, Levy said, is a $1 million award given to Vassar College last month for the school’s success in attracting and graduating low-income students. He said he has since heard from a number of interested colleges and universities. “I think we’ve gotten a lot of visibility quickly,” Levy said. “We’re shaping the debate.” The foundation is meeting with members of Congress, policymakers, White House officials and others. JKCF also sponsored the White House College Opportunity Day of Action last December.

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