Why Public Policy?

If academics and practitioners had a vehicle in which each could listen to the other and began to problem-solve the tough issues together, Boston and the Commonwealth would be a better place to live and work.

Jerome Lyle Rappaport


Leaders of our Commonwealth are found in the appointed and elected officials who run our cities and towns. These men and women represent the heart of public policy. The Foundation is steadfast in its belief that effective public policy solutions have the best opportunity to rise to the surface if our political leaders are provided with two things—cutting edge and non-partisan academic research into areas of public concern including housing, transportation, education, crime prevention; and the opportunity to interact with leading experts and the best and brightest our colleges and universities have to offer.

That thinking is the basis of work being carried out now at both Harvard University and Boston College Law School and supported by the Rappaport Foundation.  The outpouring of interest in these programs confirms the great interest in state and local governance issues.

Rappaport Public Policy Fellows spend 10 weeks working in state and local government offices in the Greater Boston area. The Fellows come from graduate and professional programs at local universities such as Harvard, Boston College, Brandeis, MIT, Tufts, Northeastern and Boston University.

2013 Rappaport Fellows “Commencement” Event

A highlight of each summer’s fellowship program is the closing dinner at which the 26 fellows gather with their government supervisors, mentors, and the Rappaport Foundation to discuss their summer experiences.  It is, as Phyllis Rappaport said in addressing the 2013 fellows, a rare opportunity to hear profiled some of the most pressing issues of our time, and government’s response to them.