The Tanoto Foundation makes $10 million gift to name the John L. Ward Center for Family Enterprises at Kellogg.

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July 2020

The Northwestern University Kellogg School of Management's Center for Family Enterprises has been renamed the John L. Ward Center for Family Enterprises, in recognition of a transformative $10 million gift from the Tanoto Foundation in Singapore. The gift honors Clinical Professor Emeritus John L. Ward, who served as co-director of the center for nearly two decades and was one of the first scholars to put science behind the field of family enterprise.

"The vast majority of businesses around the world are family businesses, and they drive significant innovation and growth in our global economy," said Francesca Cornelli, dean of Kellogg. "With the generous support of the Tanoto Foundation and the Tanoto family, the Kellogg School of Management will continue to expand on the Ward Center's innovative, world-class work, building on the extraordinary foundation laid by Professor Ward."

The mission of the Ward Center is to be the thought leader in family enterprise education. Established in 1999, the center has pioneered much of what is known about the collective challenges business-owning families face and led new ways of thinking about the management and leadership of family enterprises.

The gift will help the center expand its educational offerings to:

  • Share research insights with leading family enterprises around the world
  • Conduct groundbreaking research to better understand the uniqueness of and challenges facing enterprising families globally
  • Engage scholars and family enterprises to inform the discipline more fully and to enhance the scholarship and capabilities of the field
  • Augment the family enterprise case and history library - with an emphasis on older, larger, global families that have achieved generational continuity
Jennifer Pendergast, the John L. Ward Clinical Professor of Family Enterprise and executive director of the Ward Center, said, "We are grateful for the Tanoto Foundation's gift, which will enable us to build on Kellogg's legacy as a leader in family enterprise education and research. Given Professor Ward's extraordinary contributions to the center and to this area of study, we can think of no better person to permanently associate with this center."

Professor Emeritus John L. Ward

Ward has been a guiding force in developing the renowned teaching and research center, which provides cutting-edge thinking and guidance for family business strategies, governance, succession, entrepreneurship, foundations and business culture. A practical theorist, he has conducted extensive research, working with families worldwide and bringing that knowledge back to the classroom. Ward also is an accomplished writer, having co-authored several leading books on family business and dozens of case studies. He previously served on the Tanoto Foundation's Board of Advisors.

Of the gift, Ward said, "We at Kellogg greatly appreciate the Tanoto family's care and commitment to perpetuating the best of family enterprise around the world through research and teaching."

Sukanto and Tinah Bingei Tanoto

Founded in 1981 by Sukanto and Tinah Bingei Tanoto, the Tanoto Foundation seeks to help children and adults in Asia and around the world realize their full potential through education, leadership development and medical and scientific research. The foundation's programs stem from the principle that quality education accelerates equal opportunity. The Tanoto Foundation's overarching goals are to significantly reduce stunting (failure to reach full physical growth potential due to malnourishment and other factors) in Indonesia, to elevate Indonesia's global ranking in education, to fuel the discovery and application of Asia-relevant medical interventions and to create strong community leaders. Recently, the Tanoto Foundation has been part of the global effort to combat the coronavirus (COVID-19). In mid-April, the foundation donated an abundance of personal protective equipment - one million masks, one million gloves, 10,000 gowns and 3,000 goggles - to Indonesia's National Agency for Disaster Countermeasure.

"Professor John Ward is one of the great pioneers in the field of family enterprise research - his evidence-based work has created groundbreaking insights into the science and dynamics of thriving family businesses and philanthropies," Sukanto Tanoto said. "We are so pleased to honor him and to further the mission of the Ward Center."

The Tanoto Foundation's gift will count toward We Will. The Campaign for Northwestern. The funds raised through the We Will Campaign are helping realize the transformational vision set forth in Northwestern's strategic plan and solidifying the University's position among the world's leading research universities. More information is available at

This story was originally published on the We Will. The Campaign for Northwestern. website on Tuesday, July 21, 2020.