Alumnus Contributes to the Greater Good in Many Ways
Although Benjamin Taylor, GSAS ’05, grew up socially conscious, his commitment to the greater good crystallized at Rose Hill while studying for his master’s degree in the University’s International Political Economy and Development (IPED) program.
“The Jesuit tradition—lifelong learning combined with service and action—has always appealed to me,” he said. “I am drawn to that approach to life.”
In 2005, Taylor and a handful of graduate students helped coordinate the United Nations Development Programme’s Community Commons forum, which brought together community development practitioners and political leaders from 43 different countries to shape global policy on such issues as international human rights practices, health conditions, environmental issues and food sustainability.
The five-day forum, which was held at Rose Hill, immediately preceded the U.N. Millennium Review Summit and led to the publication of A Community Dialogue for Meeting the Millennium Development Goals (Fordham University Press, 2005). Taylor was part of the committee that helped write the book.
He also served as co-chair of the Community Commons’ steering committee, a role that involved strategic planning and fundraising.
“I was one of the eager foot soldiers behind the leadership in making this happen,” he said.
Taylor said the willingness to give back is shared by all Fordham students and is one of the most important benefits of studying at the University.
“I chose Fordham because it offers an excellent program in development,” he said. “And I liked the hands-on, get-our-heads-out-of-the-clouds, let’s-make-it-happen approach.
“Fordham is the ideal environment for those seeking to put learning into action.”
Today, the Portland, Oregon-based Taylor puts his learning into action at R.V. Kuhns and Associates, one of the 10 largest consulting firms in the country, as an associate consultant and a defined contribution plan specialist.
“The opportunity to work with billions of dollars of people’s retirement funds represents an incredible chance to be a professional, ethical person doing my best to improve the lives of literally millions of people,” said Taylor, who earned his master’s degree in public policy at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.
One of Taylor’s clients is the Colorado-based Helen K. and Arthur E. Johnson Foundation, which distributes philanthropic resources to local charitable organizations. He manages some of the foundation’s funds to ensure its statewide philanthropy continues.
“This is, to my mind, the best public service oriented job in which I could apply my skill set in economics and finance,” he said, “and [still] have a broad impact for the greater good.”
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