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Phyllis Rappaport has been Chair of the Rappaport Foundation since its founding in 1997. Working alongside her visionary husband, Jerry, Phyllis has been a critical driver behind the Foundation’s lasting impact on public policy, medical research, and contemporary art.

Phyllis played a pivotal role in turning Jerry’s dream of launching a first-of-its-kind fellowship program for talented graduate students interested in working in state and local government into a reality. Together, they established the Rappaport Institute at Harvard Kennedy School and the Rappaport Center for Law and Public Policy, first at Suffolk University Law School and then at Boston College Law School. Since their inception, these programs have catalyzed the careers of hundreds of civic and state leaders while inspiring the creation of similar programs across the county.

Early advocates of venture philanthropy funding, Jerry and Phyllis have a long legacy of providing unrestricted research grants to young scientists at MassGeneral, the Brigham, and McLean Hospital, and in neuroscience, psychiatry, and neuroimaging. Their grants offer a springboard for promising investigators to apply for government funding, get published, and take their research to the next level while improving the lives and well-being of countless individuals.

Frustrated with the slow pace of Alzheimer’s research, Phyllis, with co-founders Jeff and Jacqui Morby and Henry McCance, applied their experience in venture capital to build an organization specifically designed to accelerate research, make bold bets, and eradicate the disease. Today, the Cure Alzheimer’s Fund’s unwavering focus on finding a cure has provided grants to more than 750 leading researchers and contributed more than $185 million to Alzheimer’s research.

Avid collectors of modern art, Phyllis and Jerry launched the Rappaport Art Prize at the deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum. The museum provides a $50K unrestricted grant to a promising artist with New England ties each year. The largest gift of its kind, the prize has been awarded to such notable artists as Titus Kaphar, Barkley Hendricks, Ursula von Rydingsvard, Kathryn Bradford, and Maria Magdalena Campos-Pons.

Phyllis was one of the first female auditors at Pricewaterhouse Cooper. She led departments in finance and management training at Digital Equipment Corporation. She was director of her family’s private real estate investment company. She serves on Advisory Boards for MassGeneral and McLean Hospitals and Harvard Kennedy School. She was a longtime trustee of deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum.