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Summer at Kresge: Daniel Gordon excited about working to solve challenges in higher ed access


Alaya Freeman

Alaya Freeman

Daniel Gordon has always been interested in diagnosing and solving complex problems.

As a summer graduate intern with The Kresge Foundation’s Education Program this summer, he’s working with the team on increasing the number of high school students who complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), which can help them pay for college. The work is central to helping the Education Program advance its primary objective to increase college access and success, advance economic mobility and strengthen urban communities.

Gordon, a California native, brings substantial experience to the foundation from working at EAB, a firm specializing in consulting for educational institutions. At EAB, he served as associate director, senior research manager, and most recently as director of Research Growth Strategy. He also brings prior experience as a Dean’s Fellow at Yale-NUS College.

“My past experiences taught me a lot about how to diagnose problems, understand stakeholders, evaluate evidence, and sort of think creatively with all that information about how to build solutions for difficult problems,” he says.

Gordon is aware that there are a lot of problems in the world and wants to be a part of the solution. The opportunity to collaborate with individuals similarly aiming to solve challenges in education excites Gordon. He looks forward to the valuable exchange of knowledge that will take place this summer.

“I’ve engaged in sort of the questions that the Kresge Foundation asks and the problems it tries to solve in higher ed before, but never from the philanthropic angle. One thing that excited me about applying was the opportunity to engage with how philanthropy approaches these complicated problems of higher ed access and success for all,” says Gordon. “I’m learning a lot about the ways that funders and not-for-profit organizations interact and what the process looks like at different stages in a relationship.”

He hopes to leave the foundation with a strong understanding of how philanthropic organizations consider higher education and how complex problems can be solved while assisting in furthering his team’s mission.

Once Gordon completes his time at the foundation, he will be going into the final year of his Master of Public Policy program at Harvard University, where he will continue his work in the field of social and urban policy and complete his capstone consulting project using policy analysis to help a variety of organizations.

In addition to his work and academic studies, he also enjoys photography, and currently has a photo on display at the Capital Jewish Museum in Washington, D.C.