Former Labor Secretary Ann Korologos, a longtime supporter of RAND, has pledged $2.5 million to extend the reach and impact of its research.
It’s a gift in support of what she calls “pure research,” unflinching and unmoved by the politics of the day.
“Being close to the government at senior levels, you can’t help but be grateful there’s a RAND,” she said. “I wish the United States Congress would call RAND even more often and say, ‘We’re thinking about developing some legislation on such-and-such, to solve a problem for the American people. Do you have any ideas?”
Korologos served as labor secretary under President Reagan from 1987 to 1989. She focused on improving the representation of women and minorities in the workforce, and pushed for tax credits to help working families afford child care. She made headlines by predicting that jobs would be plentiful in the early 21st century, but workers might not have the right skills or education to compete for them. That same idea has become a focal point of RAND research.
Korologos previously had served as under secretary of the Department of the Interior. She went on to chair the President’s Commission on Aviation Security and Terrorism, and to lead the nonprofit Federal City Council in Washington, D.C. She also has served on the boards of several Fortune 500 companies, including Microsoft, Kellogg Company, and the parent corporation of American Airlines.
She’s currently chairman emeritus of the Aspen Institute, an organization that brings together thinkers and leaders to confront some of the world’s most pressing problems. She’s also an avid art collector and owns the Ann Korologos Gallery outside of Aspen, Colorado.
She’s been a part of RAND for more than 20 years, as a leader and as a donor. She has served on the Board of Trustees since 1996, with a short break in 2010, and chaired it for five of those years. “The idea of going where people know what they’re talking about struck me as pretty good, especially after experiencing the world of Washington punditry,” she said. “I’m always smarter when I leave a board meeting at RAND than when I came in.”
Several years ago, for example, RAND published a report on how the military could more efficiently move equipment. Korologos was serving at the time on the board of Vulcan Materials, the nation’s largest producer of sand and gravel. The ideas in the report, she realized, could apply just
as well to moving huge quantities of crushed rock.
She’s shared RAND research on rebuilding Puerto Rico with friends working on the island. She drew on RAND research on the Middle East when she became chair of the Middle East Investment Initiative. And she sent a RAND report on the efficacy of chiropractic treatments to her son-in-law, a chiropractor in Virginia.
“RAND research is all so relevant,” she said. “It’s not something that’s just going to go into the bottom left-hand drawer of someone’s desk. It goes into so many sectors of society that are so important.”
She established the Ann Korologos Endowed Scholarship for students at Pardee RAND Graduate School in 2012. Her most recent gift includes $500,000 to support the school as it reimagines public policy education to better meet the needs of the 21st century.
And a recent $2 million estate gift has established the Ann Korologos Impact Award Endowment. RAND will award funds from the endowment to help researchers build on especially important and timely studies, expand their impact, and make sure they get into the hands of those who need it.
“My hope is that it will support something that no one else has thought of,” Korologos said, “something that is life-changing in some way, whatever that means—life-changing for our country, life-changing for a policy area.”
“I give to other organizations, but there are precious few that you think will be around in 50 years, even 10 years, still having an impact, still being the answer to some problem,” she added. “That’s what’s special about RAND.”