||In a series of casual conversations,
in 1999 and 2000 a few members of the Class of 1963 at Harvard Business School compared personal plans for "what to do with the next phase of our lives." This led to eight all-day or half-day meetings, in which two dozen classmates participated...
the self-styled "Gang of '63."|
Gradually, a consensus developed that we could and should do something pro bono together.
This evolved naturally into our strategy for the future "working together again... pooling our skills, networks and resources to make a difference pro bono. It's fun and it works...".
Our abilities to help pro bono ventures appear to include such dimensions as these:
We also agreed that we should concentrate on one large area, Education, and focus on improving the educational experiences of kids, with an emphasis on young kids from difficult environments.
We also agreed that we would concentrate, for now, on these challenges in America.
Among other things we look for programs that could be proven out on a local level and then expanded to national application, taking advantage of one of our Class strengths… we live in many areas.
During our discussions, we got some wonderful help from a great group of experienced people. Among others, our "due diligence" meetings have included discussions or presentations by:
Ruby Hearn of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation,
Rebecca Rimel of Pew Charitable Trusts,
Steve Nelson of HBS,
Carol and Joe Reich of Beginning with Children Charter School,
Henry Schacht of Ford Foundation,
John Whitehead of Goldman Sachs and of HBS Social Enterprise;
Our own classmate, Don Nielsen, President of the Seattle school board;
And representatives of Teach for America, Up with Children, Landmark School, the Yale Child Study Center, A Charter School, FIRST, and Princeton Project '55.
Collectively, we met with folks who are doing some of the finest thinking on educational change and needs in America today.
In November 2000, "The Gang of '63" had settled on education in America as its arena, and identified a program to explore for each of four client groups... students, teachers, parents and education leaders. In July of 2001, invitations were sent out to all 552 HBS '63 classmates to join "The Partners of '63." To attain the success we envisioned, The Partners of '63 set out to reach a start-up "critical mass" of 25-50 classmates, and 75-100 classmates within our first two years. These goals were achieved.
In 2005 and 2006, incidentally, "The Partners of '63" rebranded as "Applecore Partners," in response to concerns that our 'gang' might be too easily conflated with the Class of 1963 itself (in class-members and others' minds). These concerns faded, however, as it became more clear that Partners63's efforts reflected well both on the Class of 1963 and on the values and intentions of the Harvard Business School.
Accordingly, we were proud and pleased to revert to our "Partners of
'63" identity, while retaining "Applecore Partners" as an umbrella to
welcome and shelter potential Partners entities formed by other HBS