Perkins' foundation targets education in inner cities

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Robert Perkins

Robert Perkins has been an investment manager for 44 years and freely acknowledges that “investment management is one of the most overcompensated industries in the world.”

Partly by way of redressing the economic imbalance, Mr. Perkins has been an education philanthropist for 20 years. He also is driven strongly by a personal conviction that solving social problems will be best achieved by providing inner-city kids with a solid elementary school education.

Mr. Perkins founded Perkins Investment Management LLC, Chicago, in 1980 and shortly thereafter, set up the Perkins Malo Hunter Foundation to fund educational initiatives.

To date, Mr. Perkins has provided scholarships and financial support to more than 60 elementary schools nationwide. Until last year, Mr. Perkins was extremely shy about letting his largess be widely known. But in 2011, he allowed a charter school that his foundation helped to build to bear his name as well as his mother's maiden name.

LEARN Hunter Perkins, a charter college preparatory elementary school, opened in September 2011 on Chicago's South Side. More than 300 children are enrolled in kindergarten through fourth grade; fifth grade will be added in the 2013-2014 academic year.

The Chicago-based Perkins Malo Hunter Foundation has about $30 million in assets.

This article originally appeared in the November 12, 2012 print issue as, "Perkins' foundation targets education in inner cities".