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The Center for the Study of Inequality (CSI) is in the midst of a substantial expansion, triggered by a transformative $10 million grant received in 2016.  Building on this momentum, CSI aims to establish its place as a world-class leader in evidence-based scholarship and teaching focused on the patterns, causes, and consequences of social and economic inequality.

With more than 100 faculty affiliates from 20 departments and schools at Cornell, CSI is the hub for inequality-focused research on campus.  CSI fosters new and cutting-edge scholarship on topics as varied as access to high-quality public education, the impact of changing patterns of civic participation, the links between poverty and health, and the causes of workplace discrimination.  Through biannual conferences and the dissemination of academic research, the Center also helps to shape conversations among policymakers and practitioners.

The undergraduate Minor in Inequality Studies administered by CSI has been earned by more than 600 undergraduates since the program’s inception in 2003.  Through capstone courses and engagement with leading scholars and practitioners, the Minor in Inequality Studies challenges undergraduates to consider fundamental questions about poverty and inequality.

CSI also works to recruit and train the next generation of inequality scholars.  The Seed Grant Program supports graduate research focused on social mobility and equality of opportunity; race, ethnicity and immigration; and inequality and democracy.  These grants also facilitate undergraduate participation in research, enabling students to develop critical analytic skills.

Finally, by sponsoring speakers, workshops, and other events, CSI engages the Cornell community more broadly in conversation about social and economic inequality.

CSI is accepting donations (of any amount) to help us advance this mission. There are several ways to give to CSI, please explore these using the links at left (or scroll down).


Your donation to CSI will:


  • support the popular Minor in Inequality Studies, and help us bring in external experts, policy makers, and Cornell alumni to the capstone Controversies about Inequality course for Minors

  • create opportunities for undergraduates to work on CSI faculty members’ research projects and to develop new data analytic skills

  • fund graduate student research projects and data collection efforts

  • reward excellence in undergraduate research by supporting CSI’s “best honors thesis” award

  • help fund a speaker series and workshops that will bring external experts to Cornell to talk about their research and engage the campus community on inequality topics


Other Giving Opportunities

Our Vision for the Future

Our goal is to solidify Cornell’s place as a leader in academic research and graduate and undergraduate education on social and economic inequality. This includes strategic hiring of new faculty at both the junior and senior level and recruitment of top graduate students.  We also aim to expand financial support for inequality-focused research, through direct support of faculty projects and smaller grants that assist scholars in competing for external funding.  Expanded programming for the Minor in Inequality Studies includes establishing a program to offer financial support for students pursuing unpaid summer experiences focused on inequality research.  Support for the minor also enables students to engage with outside scholars and policy-makers and to develop analytic skills through involvement in faculty research.

Support the Center for the Study of Inequality

There are many ways to support CSI.  Gifts of any size can be directed to the CSI Gift Fund for immediate use in support of the Center’s mission.  This includes support for ongoing inequality research by faculty, graduate students and undergraduates as well as scholarly lectures and workshops for the broader Cornell community.  Endowed gifts ensure the long-term stability of CSI and Cornell’s position as a leader in inequality research.  These gifts also help us to recruit and retain the most exceptional scholars working in the field, and allow us to expand opportunities that enhance the undergraduate experience.  Current areas of particular need are described below.

Center and Directorship

These current use and endowed funds support the Center’s expansion and allow the director to focus on the Center as his or her primary objective.

  • $15,000: Current use gift for a conference room equipped with videoconferencing technology
  • $5,000,000: Named directorship for the Center for the Study of Inequality
  • $10,000,000: Naming opportunity for the Center for the Study of Inequality

Faculty Support

These gifts assist with recruiting and retaining leading scholars and teachers.

  • $500,000: Named faculty fellowship in Inequality and Poverty Studies
  • $2,000,000: Named assistant/associate professorship of Inequality and Poverty Studies
  • $3,000,000: Named professorship of Inequality and Poverty Studies

Undergraduate Minor in Inequality Studies

Gifts to the Minor in Inequality Studies Program enhance undergraduate training and experiential learning.

  • $30,000: Current use gift to establish an undergraduate research laboratory
  • $100,000: Named lectures on policy-relevant topics by external scholars and practitioners
  • $250,000: Named undergraduate summer research experience fellowship

Graduate Education

These endowed funds support graduate students, helping us recruit and train the next generation of inequality scholars.

  • $500,000: Named graduate teaching assistant fellowship in Inequality and Poverty Studies
  • $500,000: Named graduate research assistant fellowship in Inequality and Poverty Studies
  • $1,500,000: Named postdoctoral fellowship in Inequality and Poverty Studies

For more information, contact us at or 607.254.8674.