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November 5, 2019

Edward M. Kennedy Institute announces leadership transition

Mary Grant returning to higher education, Art Buckland named interim executive director

BOSTON – The Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate announced today that Mary K. Grant, Ph.D. will step down as president and CEO in order to return to the field of higher education. The Institute is pleased to announce that Art Buckland will join the Institute as interim executive director beginning Nov. 6.

“Mary Grant has performed extraordinary work for the Edward M. Kennedy Institute,” said James J. Karam, chair of the Institute’s Board of Directors. “She deepened our partnerships, helped raise our civic education profile, and positioned our young and dynamic organization well for the future. My fellow Board members and I have benefitted greatly from her expertise, leadership, and passion for civic engagement. More than 22,000 students participated in the Institute’s award-winning educational programs free of charge last year, and we are confident that with Art Buckland’s leadership, we will build on our mission to expand public participation in democracy.”

Dr. Grant’s nearly two-year tenure at the Institute included the launch of several new civic education programs, significant fundraising success, and growing national recognition. At its October 24 annual dinner, the Institute raised more than $1.5 million in support of its educational and public programs. Other significant recent grants include: $500,000 from the Gates Foundation to support a youth movements initiative in 2020, $400,000 from the James M. and Cathleen D. Stone Family Foundation for the annual Stone Social Impact Forum and partnership activities, and nearly $200,000 from the Institute of Museum and Library Services to support the expansion of educational outreach programs.

Earlier this year, the Institute received the inaugural Leonore Annenberg Institute for Civics Award from the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania. The award comes with a $200,000 cash prize that will fund building of a national initiative to train teachers how to discuss difficult and challenging topics in their classrooms.

“It has been an opportunity of a lifetime to lead the Kennedy Institute,” said Dr. Grant. “I had the great honor many years ago to award Senator Kennedy an honorary degree. He spoke with passion and conviction about the importance of civic engagement and civic leadership, the very work that is at the heart of the Institute. I have had the privilege to work with an extraordinary staff, whose expertise and creativity make it possible for us to have the success we have had, and a Board that is passionate about the mission and the success of the Institute. The work has never been more important.”

Buckland brings extensive executive and board leadership experience to the Institute, having ignited growth in public, privately held and non-profit businesses in seven states and seven countries, ranging from startups to billion-dollar global enterprises in diverse industries, many in the social impact space. He has earned an MBA from Harvard Business School, a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from Syracuse University, and a professional director certification from the American College of Corporate Directors.

“I’m very excited at the opportunity to help advance Sen. Kennedy’s vision of civic engagement as a vital tool in expanding participation in our democracy,” Buckland said. “The Institute is a key forum for that engagement through its many programs. I’m ready to work with the talented team here to build on what has been created and help ensure a solid plan for stability, growth and an exciting future.”

The Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate – which opened in 2015 – is a nonprofit, nonpartisan, civic education organization in Boston that was envisioned by the late Senator Kennedy to educate future generations about the role of the U.S. Senate in our democracy, encourage civic participation and inspire new generations of leaders. The Institute is known for its nationally-recognized education programs like the signature Senate Immersion Module, where students take on the role of a U.S. senator and use negotiation and debate skills to learn about the legislative process and craft and build support for real legislation from historic and contemporary times.


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