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$50 Million Gift for Public Interest Lawyering

September 29, 2020

Robert and Jane Toll Foundation makes $50 million gift to expand Toll Public Interest Scholars and Fellows Program launching hundreds of students into public interest legal careers

The Robert and Jane Toll Foundation, founded by Robert Toll L’66 and Jane Toll GSE’66, has made a $50 million gift to the University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School to dramatically expand the Toll Public Interest Scholars and Fellows Program, doubling the number of public interest graduates in the coming decade through a combination of full and partial tuition scholarships.

The Toll Foundation’s $50 million gift is the largest gift in history devoted entirely to the training and support of public interest lawyers, and among the ten largest gifts ever to a law school in the United States. This transformative gift comes at an unprecedented time in history, when lawyers working for a more just and fair system are desperately needed. Beginning in the 2021 academic year, the Toll gift will be implemented to support the tuition and programming for students working towards the crucial goals of public service. This will place the Law School in the unique position to catalyze its unwavering commitment to put service and justice into action in ways that have never before been possible, through recruiting, enrolling, and empowering the next generation of advocates.

“We are profoundly grateful for this spectacularly transformational gift from Bob and Jane that builds on their previous support of the Law School and will ultimately enable us to double the number of public interest graduates in the future,” said Penn President Amy Gutmann. “The timing could not be more important, as our country acknowledges how inadequately our criminal justice system and other institutions have responded to the country’s long history of racism and inequality. The Tolls’ visionary philanthropy firmly places Penn Carey Law in a preeminent position to support a new generation of leaders to do the substantial work required for serious reform.”

As the world continues to grapple with a global pandemic that has exposed deep inequality, the U.S. finds itself in the midst of facing and correcting the deep racial inequities present through its society. This gift will enable the Law School at Penn to widen the gateways to service for students who will change the world for the better through their careers in the public interest. By increasing the number of Toll Public Interest Scholars and Fellows, the Law School can exponentially increase the capacity of our global public interest community to fight the most significant legal battles of the time while expanding access to justice.

“A gift of this magnitude, in this current moment, creates a significant opportunity to expand on the long-standing commitment of the Law School to educate, train and launch the advocates needed to fight the injustices of our world today,” said Ted Ruger, Dean and Bernard G. Segal Professor of Law. “These scholarships will make public interest careers accessible to a broader pool of students, many of whom are from underrepresented backgrounds. The Tolls’ generosity truly supercharges the Law School’s ability to create meaningful change in the future of our communities.”

Robert Toll, the co-founder of the American luxury homebuilder company Toll Brothers, Inc., and his wife, Jane, have previously committed philanthropic efforts to the Law School and its public interest programming. Their most recent gift expands upon a $3 million donation made in 2018 to create and launch the Toll Public Service Corps, which includes Toll Scholars and Fellows, while also establishing Alumni Impact Awards and funding additional financial and career support for alumni through loan forgiveness and the existing Toll Loan Repayment and Assistance Program (TolLRAP).

Additionally, in 2006, the Tolls gifted $10 million to the Law School’s public interest program, which resulted in renaming to the Toll Public Interest Center (TPIC). Originally founded in 1989, the public service program at the Law School rendered it among the first institutions to require all students to complete 70 hours of public service before graduation. In 2000, Penn was the first law school to ever receive the ABA’s Pro Bono Publico Award. The Tolls’ donation in 2006 resulted in significant expansion for the program, and helped TPIC grow into an exceptional hub for public service at Penn. TPIC now facilitates a wide array of pro bono and public service opportunities that focus on impactful service, personal enrichment, and professional skill development, including the promise that each graduating class dedicates approximately 30,000 hours of pro bono legal service.

“Our goal is to greatly increase the number of students entering careers in public interest,” said Robert Toll. “It’s my hope that this opportunity leads to even more tangible, positive change from future Law School graduates.”