Follow the McNultys: A Funder With An Eye on Leadership Development Steps Up With Two Big Gifts

Having first met at their Catholic high school in the Philadelphia area, Anne McNulty and her late husband John P. McNulty both graduated from Wharton with their MBAs in 1979, and went on to have illustrious careers at Goldman Sachs. John McNulty spent more than 20 years at the firm, making partner and also serving as a senior director and on the management committee. Anne, meanwhile, was a managing director, as well as a senior executive of the Goldman Sachs Hedge Fund Strategies Group. The couple turned to philanthropy together too, and in the mid-1980s established the John P. & Anne Welsh McNulty Foundation. John retired from Goldman in 2001 and became even more focused on charity, joining the board of the Aspen Institute, an educational and policy studies organization whose programming includes leadership fellowships around the world.

In 2005, John McNulty passed away suddenly but his name and interests have lived on, and not just through the family's charitable vehicle, either. There's the annual $100,000 John P. McNulty Prize, in partnership with the Aspen Institute, which celebrates the "boldness and impact of individuals who are using their exceptional leadership abilities, entrepreneurial spirit and private sector talents to address the world’s toughest challenges." McNulty Prize jurors have included the likes of Madeleine Albright and Richard Branson. One recent winner was William Bynum for his project Hope Community Credit Union, "established to promote community reinvestment in distressed areas as well as to educate people with little or no experience with banking institutions the importance of good credit and savings."

McNulty through her foundation has also recently supported outfits such as Haitian Education & Leadership Program (HELP), and Ashesi Foundation which supports Ashesi University in Accra, Ghana, a "nonprofit liberal arts college" whose mission is to "educate a new generation of ethical and entrepreneurial leaders in Africa."

It's safe to say that leadership development is a top priority for this funder.

Well, now comes news of two recent gifts from Anne McNulty in the realm of leadership development to her alma maters. At Wharton, she gave a $10 million gift to establish the Anne and John McNulty Leadership Program. The Wharton Leadership Program has been around for a while but this latest gift will rename the program and "accelerate and expand the impact of Wharton’s premier leadership development initiative by providing support for new program development and the adaptation of popular programs to new student audiences and the general public."

At Villanova, McNulty gave a $5 million gift to establish a new women's leadership institute called the Anne Welsh McNulty Institute for Women’s Leadership, whose aim is to "foster women’s advancement through education, advocacy, community-building and the collaborative creation of new knowledge."

It's worth talking about how McNulty has zeroed in on women specifically with her leadership development work this time around. It definitely makes sense that a Goldman veteran who later went on to cofound a real estate company would be concerned about fostering more female leaders. As she puts it: “When I went to Villanova 40 years ago, women had only recently been admitted across all colleges at the University, and those of us on campus were ambitious and adventurous and ready to take on the world. We were convinced the rapid changes around us would continue and that progress would be made much more quickly than it had been. Now more than ever, we need to focus on how we develop and elevate women as leaders."

I've written about another female star of Goldman Sachs, Suzanne Nora Johnson, some of whose grantmaking involves supporting business leadership for women. These issues have been on the radar of a significant chunk of funders in recent years, a trend which we've written about extensively. McNulty in fact has been among these funders and has bankrolled the John P. McNulty Scholars Program for Excellence in Science and Math, established to support women pursuing STEM degrees at Hunter College and St. Joseph's University, the late John McNulty's alma mater.

Related: How This Wall Street Vet And Her Husband Do Their Philanthropy

Apart from leadership development, McNulty through her foundation has also recently bankrolled arts and health outfits, as well as humanitarian and youth nonprofits. She's funded health outfits, too. Leadership, though, is the bread and butter of this funder's work and so grantseekers working in this space should keep McNulty on their radars. The foundation itself flies under the radar, and a recent 990 indicated that the outfit doesn't accept unsolicited proposals. The McNulty Foundation does have a single web page as well as an Executive Director. Information about applying for the McNulty Prize, meanwhile, can be found here.

Related: Anne Welsh McNulty