For 30 years, the Center on Philanthropy and now IU Lilly Family School of Philanthropy has provided an engaging and transformative education, thought leadership, insightful research, and a powerful, new look into the study of philanthropy. Longtime staff member Jennifer Staashelm reflected on the things that have changed and the things that have stayed the same over the last 30 years. Learn about both the innovations the school has made and the traditions it carries on.
By Jennifer Staashelm
Since we are in Indiana, I am going to present this in the David Letterman Late Night style as a “Top 10 List.”
What has changed?
No. 10 – My hair color.
No. 9 – Our office location. We have been in seven different locations during our 30-year history. The good news is we are now all under one roof – at least for today.
No. 8 – Personnel size. We currently have 55+ faculty and staff.
No. 7 – Got over our 3-ring binder fetish. We used 3-ring binders for everything: meetings, symposiums, board of visitors, funding proposals and annual reports. Electronic files are a great improvement!
No. 6 – We have embraced outsourcing. We no longer do everything in-house.
- We used to design our own materials
- Assemble all The Fund Raising School binders
- Produce mass mailings
- Had in-house technology staff
No. 5 – Very focused on establishing the Center on Philanthropy and building our brand:
- Brought in outside experts and leaders in the field to speak
- Built a strong network of colleagues
- Hosted a lot of lunches/fed people
- Hired a production company to develop a video (prior to being able to do this on your cell phone)
- Conducted significant marketing and promotion campaigns
No. 4 – Technology. No network, internet, website, email, document attachments, cell phones, video conferencing, Skype, voice mail (some preferred a receptionist):
- Communicated by fax machine (used thermal rolled paper)
- Stored computer files on floppy disks
- No monitors in conference rooms, just an electronic whiteboard which was prone to breaking down and running out of paper, which nobody knew how to refill
No. 3 – We have students now. In the beginning we did not have any degree programs.
No. 2 – We have a kitchen. We no longer have to get water for coffee from the bathroom.
No. 1 – We are now the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy and no longer a Center on Philanthropy.
What has stayed the same?
No. 10 – Mission and vision for the future has remained constant.
No. 9 – We are a place of big ideas and forward thinking.
No. 8 – Focus on collaboration and partnerships.
No. 7 – Never missed a significant deadline. Though some were just under the wire and there were some late nights.
No. 6 – Welcoming place with a focus on hospitality:
- Like to celebrate – accomplishments, holidays, new hires, going away parties, sports events, and all other events in between
- We like to write special songs that are performed by in-house talent
- Always leftovers in the kitchen
No. 5 – Our reputation for excellence continues. Must have been all of those free lunches!
No. 4 – Still hard to find a parking place on campus.
No. 3 – Strong leadership and support: school, campus, board members and advisors, donors, alumni, advocates, etc.
No. 2 – One constant: quality of our people:
- Always hired the best and the brightest and have attracted top-notch students
- Everyone is committed to the mission
- People are dedicated
- Generous spirits
- Experts and leaders in the field
- Strong work ethic
No. 1 – Nobody seems to know how to make coffee in the morning.
Jennifer Staashelm is a senior administrative assistant in the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy research department.