Paving the Way for Monumental Access and Opportunities

The Washington Center (TWC) is the thriving, impactful organization it is today—as the song says—with a little help from our friends.

Since our earliest days, generous partners have empowered us to provide access and opportunity to our 60,000 alumni around the world and thousands of organizations for which they have interned. These funds have driven our mission to make our life-changing programs accessible to as many students as possible. Thanks to longstanding and new partners, in 2019, nearly 85 percent of students attending TWC programs received some form of financial aid.

A Tradition of Government Support

Some of this support comes from state legislatures, federal agencies, and international governments. In 2019, TWC students benefited from $2.8 million in funding from 10 U.S. states and two territories. Additionally, TWC benefited from $7.3 million in funding from U.S. federal agencies. These organizations partner with us to help guide a pipeline of diverse, talented students into public service careers. Finally, eight international governments provided $1.9 million in support to TWC. We offer custom training and workforce development programs for their citizens, who then return and make a positive impact in their communities. By supplying these funds, these partners provide a resounding endorsement of our campus-to-career programs from both inside and outside of the United States.

Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS) made the Washington, D.C., experience possible for me. Having the opportunity to intern in the U.S. House of Representatives during a significant period in U.S. history is an experience I am incredibly grateful for and will always remember. The friends I have made and the skills I have developed as a result of this academic internship opportunity are a credit to BCBS and TWC’s vast support network.

Justin St. Louis | Fall 2019 University of Massachusetts Lowell | Political Science Interned with U.S. Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) Blue Cross Blue Shield Scholar

Corporate Partners Open Doors

Other support comes from our valued program sponsors. Prudential Financial partnered with TWC to establish the Veterans Employment Trajectory Initiative. This immersive internship program is designed to help translate skills learned in the military into successful civilian careers. Morgan Stanley and the U.S.-Japan Council work with TWC to host the annual Building the TOMODACHI Generation Morgan Stanley Ambassadors Program. Japanese and TWC students engage in leadership training, cross-cultural exchange, and entrepreneurial approaches to addressing social challenges in the two-week seminar.

A third source of support is private scholarship funding from both organizations and individuals. In 2019, 258 students received support from 15 scholarships and hundreds of other awards from our general fund. This financial aid is integral to our goal of expanding access and opportunity. Among scholarship recipients, 97 came from underrepresented populations, 113 were first-generation college students, and 22 were students with disabilities. Our incredible corporate partners, including the Ford Motor Company Fund, Motorola Foundation, AT&T Foundation, Kessler Foundation, and the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education Foundation, are essential in this endeavor. Both the President's Fund and the Margery Magill Memorial Fund also opened our doors to many deserving students.

Alumni and Liaisons Give Back

Champions from the TWC community, including our dedicated alumni and faculty liaisons, know firsthand the transformative power of our internship and seminar programs. They also know how important it is for today’s young people to have such seminal, real-world experiences―and they want to help make those experiences a reality for more students.

Take Scott Rechler ’88, founder of New York City-area real estate firm RXR Realty, as an example. Rechler’s annual gift to TWC enables students from Hofstra University―the closest institution to his home in New York―to attend TWC programs. Another exemplar is Dr. Kevan Yenerall, a professor of social sciences at Clarion University in Pennsylvania. Dr. Yenerall, a TWC faculty liaison, wanted to make it easier for his students to attend TWC’s National Convention Seminars. He raised $25,000 from friends, family, and colleagues to create the Joseph and Mary Ellen Yenerall Politics and Public Service Scholarship to accomplish that goal.

Through my internship, I had the opportunity to attend an oral argument at the U.S. Supreme Court. Only in Washington, D.C., can you witness the ins and outs of where some of the biggest court decisions in the country are made. Sitting outside the Supreme Court in line with almost 100 other people before the sunrise was truly something I cannot experience anywhere else. I will never forget that day or the memories I have made while at The Washington Center.

Brittany Clark | Spring 2019 Hofstra University | Political Science and Criminology Interned at National Legal Aid and Defender Association Scott Rechler ’88 Scholar

The Foundation for Our Next Chapter

These partners were central to our success in our first 45 years, and they will be essential to our next half-century. When the COVID-19 pandemic unfolded this spring, partners such Verizon and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts made it possible for us to quickly adapt to evolving circumstances. Their generosity fueled our successful efforts to transform our Washington-based summer session into the nation’s largest virtual academic internship program.

Individual donors, too, made a difference in providing the financial and inspirational support needed to build the TWC of the future. One example is longtime faculty liaison Dr. Nancy Cade, the Davenport Distinguished Professor of History and Political Science at the University of Pikeville in Kentucky. Originally, she planned to create an endowment that would help TWC build partnerships with new universities and attract more students to our academic seminars. But when the pandemic began, Dr. Cade redirected $20,000 of the endowment to help with TWC’s immediate needs. Those funds are helping us build the infrastructure necessary to host a virtual Inauguration 2021 Academic Seminar in January.

The support of these partners―and many more―are empowering us to meet the financial and logistical needs of both our students and our internship sites in this “new normal.” The TWC Anniversary Fund, will be the foundation from which we can offer that support. Gifts to this fund will address three areas:

  • providing operational stability to our organization
  • further developing our virtual internship program
  • ensuring our programs remain open to first-generation, underrepresented, and high-need college students

We encourage all of our partners―new and longstanding, near and far―to take part in the Anniversary Fund effort in whatever way you are able. Your gift will help TWC weather the immediate effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and provide a springboard for success in our next 45 years.

TWC's 45th Anniversary Fund Committee

Hon. Alan J. Blinken, Honorary Chair William Adams ’14 Vicki Allums ’78 Erin Fitzpatrick ’04 Gordon Hallas ’90 Lauren Millsaps ’14 Christopher Myers ’11 Pat Pefley ’81 Angelique Sina ’10