The Robert and Jane Toll Foundation, founded by Robert Toll and Jane Toll, has made a $50 million donation to Penn Law to expand opportunities in public interest law.
The gift will expand the Toll Public Interest Scholars and Fellows Program, doubling the number of public interest graduates within the next decade through full and partial tuition scholarships. This is one of the ten largest gifts ever given to a law school in the United States, and it is the largest gift in history that is devoted exclusively to the training and support of public interest lawyers, Penn Today reported.
The Toll gift will be implemented beginning with the 2021-2022 academic year.
“The goal is for those students to graduate with very little debt so they have financial flexibility to take more impactful jobs, jobs which usually pay much less than private practice,” Penn Law dean Ted Ruger told The Philadelphia Inquirer. “We’ll be able to double the number of those scholarships from seven to 14.”
The gift will allow current law students to transfer during their second year into the Tolls Fellows Program if they decide to pursue a career in public service after they begin law school. The donation money will cover the cost of tuition for these students once they transfer, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported.
Robert Toll, who graduated from Penn Law in 1966, and his wife, Jane, who graduated from the Graduate School of Education in 1966, previously donated $3 million in 2018 to create the Toll Public Service Corps, which includes Toll Scholars and Fellows. The Tolls also established the Alumni Impact Awards to financially support alumni through loan forgiveness and the Toll Loan Repayment and Assistant Program, Penn Today reported.
The Tolls also donated $10 million to Penn Law’s public interest program in 2006, which led to the renaming of the Toll Public Interest Center, Penn Today reported. This donation expanded the program, and the TPIC now promotes various pro bono and public service opportunities, including the promise that each graduating class completes approximately 30,000 hours of pro bono legal service.
In November 2019, Penn Law received a $125 million donation from the W.P. Carey Foundation, the largest donation ever given to a law school. The gift was intended to increase financial support for law students, expand pro bono programs, and support the recruitment of legal scholars. The donation also prompted the renaming of the formal title of the school to the University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School.
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