Editor’s note: Greg Brown is Executive Director of the Frank Hawkins Kenan Institute of Private Enterprise.


CHAPEL HILL – The past year has been extraordinary in many ways. The continuing COVID-19 pandemic has upended all aspects of our lives, roiled world markets and compelled vigorous debates about the intersection of business, data-driven research and public policy. But through it all, the Kenan Institute has remained a voice of reason and clarity.

The early part of the year brought sweeping change to Washington, and a new set of public policy priorities emerged to combat the lingering effects of the pandemic and its effects on labor and financial markets. The promise of a post-COVID world was derailed by the late-summer emergence of the Delta variant, which extended hybrid office operations for the institute and that of many of our partners. The late emergence of the Omicron variant further unsettled markets and business operations around the world.

In response, the Kenan Institute redoubled its efforts to translate high-quality academic research to reach broader and more diverse audiences. This work included an expansion of our flagship translational research publication, Kenan Insights, as well the addition of new methods designed to increase the reach and visibility of our work. The institute added significant capacity by recruiting a nationally renowned chief economist, laying the groundwork for future work in understanding the post-COVID economic recovery.

The institute continued its commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion both through internal efforts and partnerships with leading thought leaders in the field, and established the Business and Society Working Group to promote and support research on topics related to the private sector’s role in addressing a broad range of societal challenges. The return to in-person classes in the fall allowed the Kenan Scholars program to more fully support UNC Kenan-Flagler students committed to working at the intersection of the private sector, public policy and academic research.

Finally, the institute has worked to set the stage for its continued growth and impact, focusing planning efforts on a deep dive into the complex questions of stakeholder capitalism and environmental, social and governance (ESG) investing in 2022.

Thank you for your support of the Kenan Institute over the past year, and we look forward to working with you in the year to come.