The Kenan Institute of Private Enterprise at the University of North Carolina Kenan-Flagler Business School will broaden and deepen its ongoing work to promote private enterprise as the cornerstone of a free and prosperous society through a new personal gift from Bruce Van Saun, Citizens chairman and CEO, and his wife, Kathleen (Katie) Van Saun. The three-year gift will support the addition of five Distinguished Fellows to advance thought leadership around a key “Grand Challenge” issue that impacts business and society, starting in 2023.
“I have been highly impressed with the Kenan Institute’s thought leadership on business and public policy issues that significantly impact the future of our society,” said Bruce Van Saun. “This effort brings together various stakeholder groups to arrive at sound policy recommendations based on a commitment to private enterprise, democracy and freedom – key pillars supporting the prosperous society in which we live today.”
“We are excited and honored as UNC Kenan-Flagler alums to be able to extend the Kenan Institute’s important work in this area,” said Katie Van Saun. “The underlying commitment to free enterprise in an academic setting is attractive and timely.”
“The Kenan Institute is thrilled to have support for our Distinguished Fellows program,” said Institute Executive Director Greg Brown. “The new funding will substantially expand our ability to bring the world’s leading researchers together with our faculty and research staff to develop solutions to the most pressing problems facing business leaders and the economy.”
Grand Challenge themes will be centered on unresolved issues that are top of mind for business leaders, raise important research questions for academics, and have broad policy implications for public policy leaders. The Kenan Institute is currently executing a pilot program focused on stakeholder capitalism and ESG investing, and this gift will help fund three additional years of Grand Challenge thought leadership research and programming.
Next year’s theme, which will be selected in consultation with the Kenan Institute’s business and academic partners, could include topics such as managing emerging tech innovations, the future of work and the workplace, and the intersection of business and government amid a changing political landscape, according to the Institute. Fellows will be appointed for two-year terms that correspond with the academic calendar. The Van Saun family gift will support an honorarium for each fellow as well as budget for data, research and travel.
Bruce Van Saun and Katie Watson Van Saun earned their MBAs from UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School in 1983, and were married in 1985.
About Citizens Financial Group, Inc.
Citizens Financial Group, Inc. is one of the nation’s oldest and largest financial institutions, with $226.7 billion in assets as of June 30, 2022. Headquartered in Providence, Rhode Island, Citizens offers a broad range of retail and commercial banking products and services to individuals, small businesses, middle-market companies, large corporations and institutions. Citizens helps its customers reach their potential by listening to them and by understanding their needs in order to offer tailored advice, ideas and solutions. In Consumer Banking, Citizens provides an integrated experience that includes mobile and online banking, a full-service customer contact center and the convenience of approximately 3,300 ATMs and more than 1,200 branches in 14 states and the District of Columbia. Consumer Banking products and services include a full range of banking, lending, savings, wealth management and small business offerings. In Commercial Banking, Citizens offers a broad complement of financial products and solutions, including lending and leasing, deposit and treasury management services, foreign exchange, interest rate and commodity risk management solutions, as well as loan syndication, corporate finance, merger and acquisition, and debt and equity capital markets capabilities. More information is available at www.citizensbank.com or visit us on Twitter, LinkedIn or Facebook.
About the Kenan Institute of Private Enterprise
Founded in 1985 by Frank Hawkins Kenan, the Kenan Institute of Private Enterprise develops and promotes innovative, market-based solutions to vital economic issues. With the belief that private enterprise is the cornerstone of a prosperous and free society, the institute fosters the entrepreneurial spirit to stimulate economic prosperity and improve the lives of people in North Carolina, across the country and around the world. For more than 35 years, the Institute has been a center of scholarship, engagement, and nonpartisan research – and today serves as the outreach arm of UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School.
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