The ESG Initiative at the Wharton School


Bendheim Loan Forgiveness Fund Aids Wharton MBAs Employed In Public Service

Wharton Social Impact Initiative is pleased to announce the 2013-2014 recipients of the John M. Bendheim Loan Forgiveness Fund for Public Service, an award bestowed upon graduates making an impact in the world.

Managed by WSII, the Bendheim fund is designed to ease the burden of student loans for selected Wharton MBA graduates who are pursuing careers in the nonprofit and public sectors.

The alumni receiving this year’s grant are as follows:

  • Cyrus Afshar, WG’11, a financial analyst for the Federal Housing Finance Agency, who works to ensure housing GSEs operate in a safe, sound and sustainable manner.
  • Rebecca Bailey, WG’13, Chief Operating Officer for Agora Partnership, whose mission is to accelerate the success of early-stage entrepreneurs creating social impact businesses.
  • Ashley Beckner, WG’13, Director of Finance and Operations for New Orleans’ Bricolage Academy, a newly established charter school dedicated to educational equity.
  • Aidan Connolly, WG’12, Executive Director for New York’s Irish Arts Center, working to preserve the evolving culture of Ireland and Irish-Americans for future generations through fine and performance arts, and community education.
  • Jeff Fabre, WG’09, an economist focusing on Latin American economic and energy issues for the US Federal Government.
  • Kate Gallego, WG’09, Senior Analyst, Strategic Planning for The Salt River Project, a political subdivision of the State of Arizona designed to foster economic development by delivering a reliable supply of power and water.
  • Efrain Guerrero, WG’10, Director of School Operations for Achievement First, a growing network of K-12 charter schools dedicated to educational opportunity and college preparation.
  • Wendy Guthrie, WG’12, who serves as a Special Advisor for the Federal Bureau of Investigations.
  • Orin Hasson, WG’09, who works with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation as Program Officer for Markets & Access, Agricultural Development.
  • Syed Hussain, WG’10, Deputy Secretary for Pakistan’s Ministry of Water and Power, who works to develop an efficient, sustainable and consumer-centric electricity system for the people of Pakistan.
  • Vera Krimnus, WG’10, Director of Strategy for Teach for America, whose mission is to eliminate educational inequity.
  • Anjali Kulkarni, WG’12, Project Manager for the Regional Achievement Center based in Camden City School District, who strives to close the achievement gap in New Jersey’s struggling schools.
  • Sushant Mukherjee, WG’09, who helps to fight pediatric HIV infection through the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDs Foundation, where he serves as Country Program Manager in Rwanda.
  • James O’Leary, WG’13, the Chief Innovation Officer at Genetic Alliance, a network the draws on the power of health advocacy and genetic technology to transform the health of individuals, families and communities.
  • Sakinah Rahman, WG’13, Vice President of Financial Services for The Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation, a nonprofit, public-private partnership between city government and the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce.
  • Laura Shen graduated in 2013 with a concentration in Multinational Markets and Management. She is currently a Policy Advisor at the U.S. Department of the Treasury.
  • Vikramjit Singh, WG’10 Officer on Special Duty to the Minister for Youth Affairs and Sports, whose mission is to promote youth development and sports in India.
  • Matthew Stephenson, WG’11, a mathematics teacher at Amistad High School in Connecticut, who promotes equal educational opportunities by providing vital academic, leadership and character skills in order to prepare students for top colleges and careers in a competitive world.

This year’s 18 awardees represent a diverse network of Wharton graduates striving for social good across the country and the world, in careers ranging from youth education to economic development. Six winners have received this award in previous years, and the majority are graduates from the most recent MBA class.

The Bendheim Loan Forgiveness Fund for Public Service awarded 18 Wharton graduates this year (12 pictured here).
The Bendheim Loan Forgiveness Fund for Public Service awarded 18 Wharton graduates this year (12 pictured here).

“Wharton is committed to being the best business school in the world and for the world,” explains Sherryl Kuhlman, WG’01, Managing Director of the Wharton Social Impact Initiative, who heads up the selection process. “Our alumni are a source of inspiration as they meld their business knowledge and commitment to social change in innovative careers and organizations.”

Created in 2005 by John Bendheim, W’40, and his son Tom, WG/Lauder’90, the loan forgiveness fund has granted close to 100 awards and nearly $1 million to date. This resource is open to Wharton MBAs during the first five years after graduation, and candidates can apply more than once over the five year period.

A competitive selection process includes evaluation by a committee that draws from WSII, Financial Aid, MBA Career Management, MBA Admissions, Wharton’s Executive MBA program and the MBA Program Office, as well as input from previous award recipients.

“Wharton graduates have an enormous amount to offer the not for profit and public service sectors,” said Tom Bendheim. “Our goal is to encourage and support our MBAs’ choice to work in careers where they can have significant social impact.”