Last month, I wrote about five months in the life of The Fund Raising School. When you look at the various events and news from the past six months, you begin to see elements of the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy’s involvement in so many diverse activities and movements. One that has really stood is the school’s wide-ranging commitment to international philanthropy.
So, I took another journey to shine a light on the school’s multiple engagements with global philanthropy.
January: The ARNOVA-AROCSA Leadership Transition Fellows arrived. Here for three months, these fellows are experienced, impactful nonprofit practitioners from Africa who during their time here reflected on their careers in the nonprofit field. One created the first domestic violence shelter in Nigeria, another helped root out corruption in elections in Nigeria, and another leads the African Centre for Human Rights and Democracy Studies. And that’s just scratching the surface. Throughout their time here, the fellows explored the nonprofit sector here, engaged with individuals working in the field, and began to develop their transition plans for the next stage. They are quite an impressive group, and it was an honor of mine to speak individually with many of them.
February: February featured an open-to-the-public panel discussion with Dr. Una Osili, associate dean for international programs, Dr. Carol Adelman, the creator of the Global Philanthropy Indices and visiting research professor, and Laurie Burns McRobbie, M.A. ‘16, IU’s First Lady. During the panel, Dr. Adelman and Dr. Osili explained the creation and transfer of the Global Indices, the extensive research taking place that’s powering the Global Philanthropy Environment Index (GPEI), and 2018 global philanthropic trends. This was an exciting preview for the launch of the GPEI in April.
Interested in this topic? You can watch the panel discussion that featured the collaboration of the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, the IU School of Public and Environmental Affairs, and the IU School of Global and International Studies.
March: The school had a visit from the Richard Rockefeller Fellows, two Chinese leaders in the nonprofit sector. Again, these two Fellows are quite remarkable. Danxi Shen is the deputy secretary general of Sany Foundation, a private, corporate foundation, and oversees the foundation’s grantmaking, program research, and global partnerships. Oma Lee is a consultant and policy specialist in Chinese charity law and philanthropy. While based in New York, the Fellows learned a great deal during their stay at the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy. “I’d never been in a place where I have been able to immerse myself in such deep thinking about the philosophy behind philanthropy,” Lee explained.
April: There’s always a certain energy here at the school, but in late April, I could feel the excitement growing even more than normal. That’s because the school released the GPEI (mentioned earlier), which is the world’s most comprehensive initiative on the environment for global philanthropy. For 10 years, the Hudson Institute had been conducting research on this project (then called the Index of Philanthropic Freedom) until it was formerly transferred with its counterpart, the Global Philanthropy Resource Flows Index, to the school in 2017. Without diving too deeply into the results (there’s a website dedicated to the indices!), this index relied on contributions from more than 100 country- and region-level experts to analyze conditions for philanthropy in 79 countries.
The school also hosted events in Washington, D.C., Indianapolis, and Berlin on the GPEI. It’s quite exciting when you consider the impact of this report and how it will shape future international giving and understanding of philanthropy.
May: May’s international emphasis featured the school’s academic programs. The first was the hiring announcement of Dr. Pamala Wiepking, an award-winning researcher and expert on global philanthropy and the inaugural Visiting Stead Family Chair in International Philanthropy. Hailing from the Netherlands, she’s published in multiple journals, serves on the board of Nederland Filantropieland, which incorporates academic research on philanthropy into the work of practitioners, and also is a founding member of the European Research Network on Philanthropy and the Center for Global Generosity.
Most exciting for students is the fact that she’ll be teaching an undergraduate course in the fall called Philanthropy in Global Context. Really, what a unique experience for students to take a course in global philanthropy from an international expert in the field!
The second May event was commencement. For a school begun only six years ago, we have a strong cohort of students and graduates from abroad. Graduates in 2018 were originally from China, Hungary, Iran, Cuba, Armenia, Nigeria, and the Netherlands. They bring unique, diverse perspectives on philanthropy from their own countries and learn about philanthropy in the United States and cross-culturally. I believe these students’ presences show the impact of a school dedicated to the study of philanthropy, and how this global topic touches all of our lives.
June: Technically, the study abroad trip began in May, but it concluded in June and so I’ll categorize it with this month. Ten students, three at the graduate certificate/master’s level and the other seven as undergraduates or recent alumni of the undergraduate program, traveled to Germany for two weeks to learn about the philanthropic sector there. They visited foundations, nonprofit organizations, universities, and government ministries and learned a great deal about the differences between the U.S. and Germany. In between those visits, the students acquired knowledge about the cultural variations, including how glasses of water cost money and how difficult it could be to find food that everyone could eat! Mostly though, they appreciated the opportunity to learn about philanthropy from a cross-cultural perspective.
Our final showcase of June features the Washington Mandela Fellows, a group of Africa’s emerging civic leaders who are visiting IU and IUPUI for six weeks to grow their leadership skills. As part of their experiences with the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, the fellows took The Fund Raising School course “Fundraising for Small Nonprofits” with Bill Stanczykiewicz, director of The Fund Raising School, as their teacher. Sitting in one of the sessions, I saw and listened to them engage with the material. When Stanczykiewicz asked them to work with each other to present their case for their nonprofit and ask for a donation, they eagerly took all they had learned from the two days and presented their cases.
One Fellow, Blaise from Burkina Faso, practiced his case on me. He explained that he’s a medical doctor who is focusing on the management of a child health and nutrition project for more than 200,000 children in Burkina Faso. Saying ‘no’ to his practice request for a donation did not even cross my mind. I later heard some of the other Fellows’ remarkable stories at an event welcoming them to IUPUI and Indiana. These Fellows are again, quite amazing and inspiring. I have no doubt they’ll continue to make a powerful impact on the nonprofit sector back in their own countries.
So that wraps up this tour of the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy’s international engagement. There’s so much more I could write, but I’ll leave that for some future blog posts.
If you have comments about the school’s wide-ranging international perspective, leave them here!