Alumni Couple Gives $1.15 Million to Grinnell College for Student Career Advancement
Gift establishes fund to help students prepare for careers around the world
The fund will support participation by Grinnell students in “high-impact” experiences, including supplementing unpaid and low-paid domestic and international internships in any sector of the economy, job shadowing, interviewing and networking, and attendance at career-oriented, professional development conferences.
Designed explicitly to “prepare Grinnell students to lead careers around the world,” the fund will also support the creation and implementation of industry-focused programs that familiarize students with trends in career fields while helping them to connect with employers and alumni. It is anticipated that the fund will support multiple students annually, with a preference generally directed to students who demonstrate financial need.
“Michael and Virginia have combined their affinity for the College with philanthropic sophistication in establishing a fund that aligns with Grinnell’s vision for serving future generations of students, employers, and alumni,” says Grinnell President Raynard S. Kington. “Their leadership is inspiring, and we are grateful for their service and generosity.”
To be administered by the Center for Careers, Life, and Service in partnership with Grinnell’s Office of Financial Aid, the fund aims to provide perpetual support of a full range of career development initiatives that help Grinnell students explore and consider potential post-graduate career pathways.
“Michael and Virginia understand that the priorities and resources of the College’s career initiatives will evolve over time, and they have created a funding mechanism to accommodate programs and ideas beyond their present scope,” says Mark Peltz, Daniel and Patricia Jipp Finkelman Dean of Careers, Life, and Service. “Their philanthropic foresight will help to ensure that the College’s distinctive approach to supporting students’ personal, professional, and civic development endures over the long term.”
“Ginny and I both share a deep passion for supporting career, service, and life ambitions of Grinnell students, for furthering the international experience of students, and for supporting students with demonstrated financial need,” says Michael Kahn, who is a Trustee at the College. “We also think it is important to strengthen and expand the College's reputation among, and relationships with, employers in the for-profit, non-profit, and government sectors.”
Michael and Virginia Kahn met while students at Grinnell and have maintained a lifelong affinity for the College, serving it in many ways. In 2015, Michael was elected to the Grinnell College Board of Trustees. As he has done throughout his career at TIAA in New York City, Michael annually hosts as many as three student interns in various positions and locations throughout the company. Several of those internships led to full-time employment with TIAA following students’ graduation from Grinnell. All of the internships provide students with unparalleled opportunities to gain valuable skills for later success in their professional careers as well as in their personal lives.
“The impact of Michael and Virginia Kahn’s philanthropy on the lives and careers of Grinnell students will resonate far beyond what students achieve in their four years on campus,” says Jayn Chaney ’05, director of alumni and donor relations. “We are thankful for the Kahns’ philanthropic leadership and for their meaningful expression of their passion for the post-graduate success of Grinnell students.”