The Program for Leadership and Character is grateful for the generosity of major foundations, including the Lilly Endowment Inc., the Kern Family Foundation, the John Templeton Foundation, and the F. M. Kirby Foundation. These foundations, as well as countless others, have helped to expand the scope of our work and equip even more leaders of character.

The Lilly Endowment

The Program has received a $3.4 million grant from Lilly Endowment, Inc. that significantly expanded its capacity to teach, mentor, and guide students at Wake Forest and provide a model for other colleges and universities. The three-year grant supports the existing Program and funds new members of staff, including:

  • 3 Assistant Directors
  • Senior Research Fellow
  • Program Manager
  • Administrative Assistant
  • Fellow for Leadership and Character
  • 8 postdoctoral fellows in various disciplines

For students, the grant funds:

  • New courses in a variety of disciplines
  • Leadership and character workshops and retreats
  • A Leadership and Character in the Arts Series
  • Alternative spring break trips
  • Guest lectures from distinguished speakers and leaders

For faculty and staff, new opportunities include:

  • Course development grants and workshops
  • Departmental grants
  • Leadership and character seminars and conferences
  • Resources for comprehensive assessment of the Program

Kern Family Foundation

The Kern Family Foundation has provided a grant of $8.6 million to support the integration of character development opportunities throughout the professional schools at Wake Forest University, including the School of Medicine, School of Law, and pre-`professional programs in the college. Another grant of $700,000 advances the collaborative work of the Department of Engineering and Program for Leadership and Character by supporting faculty development and course design, funding postdoctoral fellows and graduate research assistants, and providing programmatic and curricular support to broaden the scope of character education in engineering.

The Kern Family Foundation has also supported the Program’s participation in the Kern Partners in Character Education and Leadership Network Improvement Community, which has enabled Program faculty and staff to share their research and engage other scholars and practitioners of character education.

John Templeton Foundation

The John Templeton Foundation made a $1.68 million grant to advance research on the impact of exemplars on character formation. Led by Eranda Jayawickreme and Michael Lamb, the three-year grant funds five international teams, including two led by Jayawickreme and Lamb at Wake Forest, that are pursuing interdisciplinary research on exemplars from the perspectives of education, law, literature, philosophy, psychology, theology, and the arts, with the aim of developing effective interventions to promote character. The grant also funds an Advisory Board of leading scholars of character from around the world (including Wake Forest’s Will Fleeson and Christian Miller) and two international research meetings at Wake Forest.

Circle of Support

The following individuals and organizations made contributions through June 30, 2020, to support our work shaping leaders of character:

  • Darren and Mary Pat Alcus
  • Leona Barrows
  • George and Carol Bauer
  • Andy and Robyn Brown
  • Vance and Betsy Brown
  • Hunty Brown
  • Dan and Aerin Bryant
  • Tom Bunn
  • Vlad and Ann Coric
  • Pat and Marisa Dwyer
  • First Citizens Bank
  • Megan Flanigan
  • Don and Robbin Flow
  • Mark and Diane Flynn
  • Jay Helvey III and Jane Helvey
  • Frank and Ruth Holding
  • Trig and Alice Horton
  • Wilson Hoyle III and Kate Hoyle
  • Tom and Janie Irwin
  • Steve and Carole Jenkins
  • John Templeton Foundation
  • Paul and Catherine Kaneb
  • Kern Family Foundation
  • F. M. Kirby Foundation
  • Bob and Tiffany Kitchen
  • Lilly Endowment Inc.
  • Steve and Molly Lineberger
  • Claudius and Deirdre Modesti
  • Bob Ramseur, Jr. and Amanda Ramseur
  • Mike Selverian, Sr. and Susan Selverian
  • Alex Sink
  • Mike and Mary Dee Smith
  • Mary Strauss
  • VCJ Family Foundation