AUSTIN, Texas - Founder and executive chairman of the Kendra Scott, LLC global accessories brand, Kendra Scott, has committed a big corporate and personal philanthropic investment in perpetuity to the University of Texas at Austin.
The $13.25 million endowment will expand entrepreneurship offerings at UT to help an estimated 24,000 women pursue business aspirations in the coming decade through the Kendra Scott Women's Entrepreneurial Leadership Institute (KS WELI). The institute is a cross-disciplinary program between the College of Fine Arts, the McCombs School of Business, the College of Natural Sciences, and The LaunchPad in Undergraduate Studies, that empowers, equips, and builds a community for women and creatives traditionally underrepresented in entrepreneurial roles.
"Kendra’s investment will transform the lives of thousands of future leaders, and all of society will reap the benefits," said Jay Hartzell, president of UT Austin, in a news release. "I am thrilled she is expanding her partnership with UT to attract top talent and leverage the strength of our city and university as an engine for entrepreneurship."
Photo courtesy Chris Lammert.
"This gift is about supporting the next generation of women entrepreneurs," said Scott. "Since the inception of the KS WELI in 2019, I’ve loved seeing UT create a space where women are inspired, and motivated to be leaders in business and to use their knowledge, skills, and energy to keep changing the world and outdated business stereotypes. Through this new gift, women will continue to dismantle barriers and forge ahead to redefine entrepreneurship for many years to come."
The investment will seed and launch the Women in Entrepreneurship (WiE) Specialization in Fall 2022, a partnership with the McCombs School of Business giving students the opportunity to earn a minor in entrepreneurship.
Scott's investment also supports UT's What Starts Here fundraising campaign.
The university publicly launched the campaign on March 4, 2022, with a goal to raise $6 billion, with $1 billion earmarked for scholarships and student support programs like the KS WELI.