In 2013, Thomas Glenn II, president of The Wilbur and Hilda Glenn Family Foundation, established the Glenn Family Chair in Philanthropy. Since then, Dr. Dwight Burlingame, a pioneer in the study of philanthropy, has held that chair position.
Here, assistant dean of fundraising and alumni relations Ann Boyd-Stewart interviews Glenn about his experiences with philanthropy at the Center on Philanthropy and with his own personal philanthropy.
From what I saw in the gift agreement, the Chair was formed from the Glenn Family Innovation Fund. What motivated the original gift and why did you amend it?
Burlingame and Gene Tempel were extremely helpful to me in formulating plans for the Wilbur and Hilda Glenn Institute for Philanthropy and Service Learning at the Westminster Schools in Atlanta, Georgia. I learned a great deal about philanthropy while serving on the Center on Philanthropy’s Board of Governors (later to become Board of Visitors), and I met a lot of very purposeful and engaging people while associating with IUPUI. Our gift was a means of showing appreciation to the Center and contributing to the field of philanthropy education, in general.
You served on the Board of Visitors from 2004-2013. How did you find out about the Center and what were some of the highlights of your service?
It was in the late 1990s that I first saw a copy of Giving USA, and I happened to notice that it was published under the auspices of the Center on Philanthropy. That caught my attention. Around the same time, a close personal friend happened to know and introduced me to Cathy Agard, head of Learning to Give at the time.
After sharing much of her time with me, Cathy introduced me to Tempel, Burlingame, Patrick Rooney, and several others at the Center. Subsequently, I served on the Board of Visitors where I benefited from the friendship and inspiration of Alexis Rovzar, Paul Comstock, L.H. Bailey, Ted Grossnickle, Karen Lake Buttrey, Maureen Hackett, and a good many others. My association with the Center was a most gratifying experience.
Tell me about the 2003 establishment of the Glenn Institute for Philanthropy and Service Learning. Has the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy played any role?
Several faculty and staff members were particularly helpful, not only in providing sound advice prior to establishing the Institute, but also in offering a great deal of guidance after the Institute’s inception. Notably, Burlingame served on the Institute’s Advisory Board. And because of their knowledge of philanthropy initiatives all over the country, Dwight, Tempel, and others were able to introduce us to many additional sources of information and assistance.
What traditions of giving did you celebrate in your family growing up?
Where philanthropy is concerned, there were no traditions or celebrations, as such. Philanthropy was simply embedded in the family fabric, like being respectful and appreciative. I learned far more about philanthropy from my parents by what they did than what they said.
Have these traditions been passed to your children, Louisa and Rand?
Lou and I have not urged our daughters, as such, to participate in our family foundation. Rather, we have simply made the opportunity available to them, and this strategy seems to have worked. They have both become passionate about certain mission areas and have developed a keen desire to learn more about other foundations, nonprofits, board activity, and philanthropy, in general. Fortunately, they seem to be following the same general philosophy of leading by example in dealing with their children.