It’s been six months since I started working at the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy. When I accepted the position as blog content coordinator, I had no idea how much the school is involved in. Six months later, you could say I’m happily surprised. Not because I doubted how much the school does, but because I had no idea how much a school could do.
I admit, I’ve always had a powerful interest and passion for philanthropy. Growing up, I saw both sets of grandparents and my parents give their wealth and time to philanthropic pursuits. I volunteered for seven months abroad after graduating college. I worked as an AmeriCorps VISTA, completing a year of service in Indianapolis after that. Then came my transition to working at the school and boy, have I learned a lot.
I’ve learned about the students and alumni of the school, who are incredibly impressive individuals and doing amazing things.
Classes on philanthropy, such as Learning by Giving, engage students in experiential learning and how to be wise grantmakers. I’ve learned about current trends in philanthropy and how policy will impact giving. I’ve interviewed faculty members of the school, who are conducting research on diverse topics such as empathy and technology, the Middle East, foundations, civil society, and democracy, and how to give in times of disaster.
The faculty members themselves, their experiences in the field, and their diverse research interests offer a broad range of perspectives and approaches to studying and doing philanthropy and fundraising.
The school research team produces fascinating research on poverty in remote areas, giving and religion, predictions on giving in the next year, and the launch of a brand new, interactive GenerosityForLife website where you can measure your own generosity and learn about other scholars’ approaches.
I’ve read about the Women’s Philanthropy Institute‘s research on women and giving and how giving makes us happy, and seen firsthand accounts of how Lake Institute on Faith and Giving’s seminars and classes offer concrete ways for faith-based organizations to change how they approach giving.
I’ve heard about the transformative process of attending The Fund Raising School’s courses, and attended a fantastic session myself. I’ve attended various events, such as the 30th anniversary lecture series (featuring Nageeb Sumar and Larry Kramer), Tocqueville talks, doctoral dissertation defenses, philanthropy research workshops, and several sessions of school-sponsored events and symposiums.
One particular highlight for me? Speaking with Jean Case, who is the CEO of the Case Foundation and hearing her enlightening views on how to approach philanthropy and life in general.
If you’re thinking, “wow, this school has a lot to offer,” you’re right! I’ve immersed myself as much as I can in order to present a wide range of topics on the blog, but there are so many ways for people to get involved.
It could range from taking the seminars offered by Lake Institute on Faith & Giving, to attending a lecture (free of charge I might add) about philanthropy, to learning about diversity and philanthropy in a webinar presented by The Fund Raising School.
I’ve been so intrigued by all I’ve learned that I’ve enrolled in the graduate certificate program, and am now better understanding the multiple facets of fundraising and questioning civil society’s role in democracy-building.
I might add that I’m able to take two classes (one online and one in-person, although you can take all online if you prefer) and work full-time, which has been manageable for me.
There really are so many ways to learn about and get involved with the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy. What I’ve listed is not the extent of what the school does, and there is also so much to look forward to as well.
In the next six months, Lake Institute will host Scott Harrison of charity:water as part of the Thomas H. Lake Lecture series, while the school will host Joel Fleishman of Duke University as part of the 30th Anniversary Speaker Series, ARNOVA-ARCOSA Fellows from Africa will share their experiences, multiple courses by Lake Institute on Faith & Giving and The Fund Raising School will be held, the Women’s Philanthropy Institute will continue releasing relevant and engaging content, and most importantly, students will graduate and become alumni and make an impact in the community. In August, a new cohort of bachelor’s, master’s, and Ph.D. students will arrive (in person or online) and change the world.
So, learn about and take advantage of the opportunities provided by the first and only school of philanthropy in the world.
Do you have a story you’d like to share with the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy? Post it here, or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Abby Rolland is the blog content coordinator for the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy.