$4M Donation Launches Stone Center for Inequality Dynamics at Michigan

Nov 17, 2021

The James M. and Cathleen D. Stone Center for Inequality Dynamics at the University of Michigan will be a leading venue for research, training, and data development concerning socio-economic inequality and wealth.

ANN ARBOR – Concerns about socio-economic inequality continue to grow as the world grapples with rising wealth inequality amidst the coronavirus pandemic. To better understand and address these widening disparities, the Stone Foundation announced today a $4 million gift to the University of Michigan to launch the Stone Center for Inequality Dynamics.

The Stone Center for Inequality Dynamics (CID) pursues cutting-edge research on one of the central societal challenges of our time, social inequality. CID is working to comprehensively understand changes and stability in inequality across generations, time, and place and propose novel solutions to address them. CID also seeks to expand the social scientific data infrastructure to support research on these topics.

“We’re thrilled to partner with the Stone Foundation to address one of the most important issues of our time,” said Fabian Pfeffer, center founding director and associate professor of sociology at U-M. “Before COVID arrived, wealth inequality in the United States had already reached its highest levels since World War II. Yet, we’re only beginning to understand the growing divide between the ‘haves’ and ‘have-nots’. The generosity of the Stone family will allow us to achieve our goal of becoming a top incubator for research on inequality and wealth.”

“The problems arising from extreme inequality are impacting many aspects of our lives, particularly those of the next generation. As researchers, we have to take action in a major way, and the generous gift from the Stone Foundation is allowing us to do just that.”

A portrait photo of James M. and Cathleen D. Stone

The center will use the new funding from the Stone Foundation to create an interdisciplinary research hub that brings together inequality experts from across campus, the country, and the world. It will also help train the next generation of inequality and wealth scholars. Researchers at the Stone Center will create new forms of public data that will allow a broad community of researchers and policymakers to address wealth inequality and its intergenerational persistence.

“Cathy and I have been concerned about growing economic inequality for decades. We both believe the study of wealth inequality is worthy of our greatest philanthropic commitment,” said Jim Stone. “We’re excited to support the talented research team at the University of Michigan on such an important endeavor.”

“The Stone Center will advance fundamental understanding of wealth inequality and its implications,” said Kathleen Cagney, director of the University of Michigan’s Institute for Social Research. “We’re tremendously grateful to James and Cathleen Stone for their generosity, which builds upon and strengthens ISR’s contributions to research on economic well-being.”

About The James M. and Cathleen D. Stone Foundation 

The mission of The James M. and Cathleen D. Stone Foundation is to promote a more knowledgeable and inclusive society, with a special emphasis on environmental sustainability and the mitigation of wealth inequality.