Paying it forward

Nicola Halsall Idehen and Francis Idehen both grew up in New York. From a young age, they were motivated by their families’ journeys in search of opportunity: Nicola’s had immigrated to the U.S. from Jamaica and Francis’s from Nigeria. These experiences instilled in them both a hunger for education and a work ethic that continues to drive them to make good on their families’ sacrifices.

Their memories of schools they attended, with the critical support of financial aid, are especially positive: for Nicola, the school was Riverdale Country Day, and for Francis 
it was Deerfield Academy.  These two idyllic schools offered independence, friendships, and opportunities to learn and develop.

After meeting at Yale at age 18, Nicola and Francis attended Harvard Business School together. Since then, they have created a true partnership over two plus decades of working in human capital and finance, often for the same companies, in cities across the U.S.

In their giving and in their work, the Idehens aim to help open doors for others. Their support is focused on financial aid initiatives at all the schools where they were once students, as well as at Lab. Nicola identifies gifts for financial aid as part of a “positive cycle of support and access that helps shape contributors to society.” Last year, Francis was named to the Lab Board, which also offers a way for him to support Lab through strategic thinking in areas of governance and administration. For both Nicola and Francis, it is the community of parents that truly distinguishes Lab, and the strength and support of fellow parents has become something they value deeply in their experience as a Lab family.

In their own commitment to supporting financial aid, the Idehens highlight this idea: often, people think of philanthropy as huge giving—all or nothing. “But,” notes Francis, “any amount of financial aid counts in someone else’s life. Consistency in giving measures our commitment to our institutions and the people in them.”

  • Financial Aid
  • Giving_Profiles
  • Lab Board
  • Parents Fund