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Ackman gives $17 million to Harvard

Bill Ackman
Scott Eelis | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Bill Ackman

Bill Ackman wants the world to have a better understanding of why people act the way they do.

Harvard University announced Monday that The Pershing Square Foundation, founded by hedge fund manager Ackman and his wife, Karen, who are both alums, awarded the school $17 million to establish three endowed professorships and establish a $5 million research venture fund for Harvard faculty and students, according to a university press release.

The Ackmans' funding will go toward Harvard's Foundations of Human Behavior Initiative. Its goal is to "drive transformative insights about the psychological, social, economic, and biological mechanisms that influence human behavior, and then help translate that new knowledge into mechanisms for improving human well-being across the world," according a statement by the school.

"Supporting innovation and new approaches to creating sustainable change is a vital part of what The Pershing Square Foundation was established to do," Bill Ackman said, in a statement. "Understanding the foundations of human behavior is a key to improving people's health, wealth, and security around the globe. We are inspired by the potential of Harvard's initiative."

The Pershing Square Foundation has committed $235 million in grants and social investments to "support exceptional leaders and innovative organizations that tackle important social issues and deliver scalable and sustainable impact," according to the release. The Ackmans have also signed the Giving Pledge, a commitment to give a majority of their wealth away.

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