The Program for Leadership Development in Public Service is supported by a generous endowment from the Iscol Family Foundation. Ken (’60) and Jill Iscol have close ties to Cornell and broad philanthropic interests.

The objective is to inspire and educate a new generation of community leaders to tackle the problems that face society including poverty, hunger, ignorance, homelessness, violence.

The program brings together people committed to social change and public service and Cornell students to help them understand that they can make a significant difference in society as professionals, volunteers, or philanthropists.

The Bronfenbrenner Center for Translational Research in the College of Human Ecology serves as the home for this interdisciplinary program.

Lecture Series

Established with the generosity and foresight of Jill and Ken Iscol, this lecture series is intended to give undergraduate students inspiration and direction in translating their knowledge, idealism, and optimism into concrete action to build better communities for families and children. Across the University, there is a deep and long-standing interest in community development related to families and children. The Iscol program brings individuals to campus that embody the intelligence, energy, sacrifice, and commitment it takes to successfully impact society.

The format of the program is to bring a distinguished community leader to campus as the Iscol Fellow each year during the fall semester. We ask that the Fellow spend a day and a half to two days on campus to deliver the Iscol Family Lecture for Leadership Development in Public Service, visit classes, and meet with students and faculty.

Summer Internships in Public Service

The Iscol Summer Internships in Public Service is a component of the overall Iscol Program. The goal is to support students who have an interest in gaining experience in public service settings or exploring public service as a career. It does so by working with existing organizations and programs on campus which sponsor summer internships in the public service sector in Ithaca, New York City, New York State, or elsewhere in the U.S. and abroad. Support from the Iscol Program allows more students to experience public service internships than would be possible otherwise. Wherever possible, the program will support students who wish to be placed in the home organizations of speakers brought to campus in the fall of each year.

Meet the Iscol Family

Ken Iscol

Ken Iscol has owned and operated mobile and personal communications businesses for more than 40 years, and was an early participant in the cellular telephone industry.  Ken is a 1960 graduate of Cornell’s School of Industrial and Labor Relations (ILR).  He received his M.B.A. in finance from New York University.

Ken served on the advisory council for the Personal Enterprise and Small Business Management Program in Cornell’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.  He is a founding advisory member of Cornell’s Center for the Environment and founder of the Jill and Ken Iscol Distinguished Environmental Lecture Program.  He is a Life Member of the Cornell University Council.

Jill Iscol

Activist, Educator and Author, Jill Iscol, EdD, is President of the IF Hummingbird Foundation, a family foundation established in 1989 with a vital mission:  to support domestic and international efforts to strengthen democracy and reduce the social, economic, and educational inequalities that threaten it.  

For the past two decades Jill has been supporting and participating in organizations whose work fosters that mission. In doing so, she has become expert in identifying visionary leaders and promising, new programs.  By providing seed capital and guidance, Jill enables them to grow into stable, sustainable and successful organizations, impacting lives around the globe.   

Jill has been actively involved in the Democratic Party and was a strategic advisor to Secretary Hillary Clinton. Jill was Co-Chair for Hillary Rodham Clinton for Senate’s New York Finance Committee which raised a record $29 million dollars, Vice-Chair of Senator Clinton’s New York and National Finance Committees in 2006, and a National Vice-Chair of Hillary Rodham Clinton for President’s 2008 Finance Committee.   She is currently supporting the Hillary for America Campaign.

Jill’s first book, Hearts on Fire: Stories of Today’s Visionaries Igniting Idealism into Action, was released as a Random House Trade Paperback in January 2013.  Subsequently, Jill launched the Hearts on Fire Visionary Campaign to tell the stories of extraordinary visionaries and to inspire people of all walks of life to join the social change movement

The Iscols at Cornell

Ken and Jill are members of the Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art Advisory Council. They established the Iscol Family Program for Leadership Development in Public Service in the College of Human Ecology. The program is supported by an endowment from the IF Hummingbird Foundation (formerly the Iscol Family Foundation). Because of their continuing support and participation on campus, the Cornell University Board of Trustees has recognized the Iscols as Foremost Benefactors. Jill and Ken have two children: Zach (’01), a graduate of Cornell’s College of Arts and Sciences, and Kiva (’03), a graduate of Cornell’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.