The September 11th Fund: The Creation

Stanford Graduate School of Business



Case Study Sector


Describes the entrepreneurial process through which the September 11th Fund was created, developed, and operated, focusing primarily on the furst seven weeks of the fund. This case details the genesis of the fund as a partnership between the United Way of New York City (NWNYC) and the New York Community Trust, New York City's largest funders to its development/fundraising efforts and operations with pro bono consulting from a team of McKinsey consultants. Describes how the social entrepreneurial process was facilitated by key leaders from McKinsey, who were instrumental in initiating and executing McKinsey's involvement in the fund development and operation. Discusses how the UWNYC executive staff and the McKinsey team worked to maximize giving to the fund, develop the infrastructure to process donations, and create an early distribution strategy. Highlights how the McKinsey team and United Way staff adapted to respond to this crisis.

Learning objective: To analyze the role of social entrepreneurship in a crisis situation, the relevance of business skills in addressing social problems, and the power of institutional collaboration. Provides an opportunity to discuss fund distribution and governance structure, as well as leadership and process management issues.



  • Field Building
  • Strategy


  • Northern America

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