Les Lenkowsky, Professor Emeritus, Indiana University and Senior Counsellor to the Dean, Lilly Family School of Philanthropy
Abstract: The late Senator (and Professor) Daniel Patrick Moynihan famously observed that “Everyone is entitled to their own opinion but not their own facts.” Valid as the statement is on its face—and important as it is in a time when many are simply inventing facts that serve their interests—it does beg the question of what exactly is a legitimate fact? What should policy makers do when facts may be legitimate, yet are profoundly inconvenient, as when they point toward policies and practices that are morally unacceptable and politically unfeasible? When they are themselves the product of opinion or judgment, solidly grounded as that may be in research, yet not without critics and disputants? In this paper, which will be published in National Affairs, Finn and Lenkowsky—both former Moynihan proteges—take the reader through that doorway and derive some sensible advice about how to handle what lies on the other side. Lenkowsky will add examples from philanthropic studies.
Bio: Dr. Leslie Lenkowsky is Professor Emeritus in the O’Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs at Indiana University and Senior Counsellor to the Dean at the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy.
From 2001 to 2003, Dr. Lenkowsky served as chief executive officer of the Corporation for National and Community Service, a position to which he was appointed by President George W. Bush. Previously, he had served as a director of the Corporation. Before joining the Bush Administration, Dr. Lenkowsky was professor of philanthropic studies and public policy at Indiana University. He has also served as president of the Hudson Institute, an internationally renowned public policy research institute, president of the Institute for Educational Affairs, deputy director of the United States Information Agency, research fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and research director at the Smith Richardson Foundation.
A graduate of Franklin and Marshall College, Dr. Lenkowsky received his doctorate from Harvard University. He is a regular contributor to The Chronicle of Philanthropy and has spoken frequently to educational and philanthropic groups throughout the United States and internationally on philanthropy, social entrepreneurship, communications, and other topics.