By Dean Amir Pasic, Ph.D.
This fall, we are preparing a new graduate course that I will teach that takes a deeper dive into the COVID-19 crisis and what it means for philanthropy.
As a period of intense trouble and danger, often exposing pre-existing inequities in society, a crisis demands intense responses. What roles does philanthropy play in this response? As we emerge from the crisis, what roles can philanthropy have in shaping the new normal? And, as we consider the world before the pandemic, how was philanthropy prepared? Finally, what did the upheaval of the crisis reveal about the world that we had perhaps taken for granted? What does this mean for how we understand and deploy philanthropy?
This course will examine the roles philanthropy plays before, during, and after crises like the one we are facing with COVID-19. The course will draw on the expertise of multiple faculty of the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy as well as insights from philanthropic leaders who will be featured as part of the Perspectives in Philanthropy Speaker Series.
We will examine how philanthropic activities in disasters like pandemics, wars, and recessions help us better understand philanthropy’s role in society. We will also investigate dimensions of local and global community resilience, including issues of equity and justice, and the political elements of philanthropy that are brought to the fore through rapid and unexpected change.
Crises bring an urgent need for philanthropy. At the same time, crises lead to scarcities of resources needed to help. COVID-19 and the global pandemic have spared no organization. While nonprofit services are in high demand, those who deliver help are under stress and may need help themselves. For example, millions of people afflicted by the virus or the economic consequences of social distancing need basic sustenance.
Beyond this, domestic violence centers have seen a huge uptick in calls and even animal shelters have seen a drastic increase in adoptions, requiring more staff time and resources. How does philanthropy respond to these circumstances? How do organizations serve their mission while still remaining viable themselves? And nonprofits do much more than provide services; they also help reimagine how and why “we are in this together.” Will this lead to changes in basic social norms?
The goal of the course is to provide students an opportunity to develop their own insight into what a crisis, COVID-19 or another instance of their choosing, means for understanding philanthropy’s role in society. The course is designed for students with significant exposure to philanthropic studies or to the practice of philanthropy.
Students will be expected to be active participants in discussing their proposed paper topic and will also present it in draft form to the class prior to final submission. The paper can be a case study of philanthropy and crisis, a literature review, or a research paper.
The class will be conducted synchronously online with Zoom sessions at noon on Fridays.
Some of the faculty topics to be covered include:
- Historical comparisons going back to the Great Influenza with Dr. Kathi Badertscher
- Inequities and approaches to outcomes in philanthropy with Dr. Lehn Benjamin
- The disproportionate impact on communities of color with Dr. Tyrone Freeman
- Global grassroots responses to COVID-19 with Dr. Catherine Herrold
- Data, truth and communication in a pandemic: Using data to navigate with Dr. Patricia Snell Herzog
- Compassion for self and others: managing burnout while helping with Dr. Sara Konrath
- Global efforts to measure giving to the COVID-19 relief causes with Dr. Una Osili
- How community foundations are recreating communities in times of crisis with Dr. Laurie Paarlberg
- Giving to a disaster or giving during a recession, what’s going on now? with Dr. Patrick Rooney
- The role of faith as a unifier and divider in periods of crisis with Dr. David King
- Why and how to fundraise during and after the pandemic with Dr. Timothy Seiler
- Philanthropic leadership in an era of disruption and ambiguity with Bill Stanczykiewicz
- The challenge for arts and culture sectors with Dr. Gene Tempel
- Giving within and across borders – the impact of COVID-19 with Dr. Pamala Wiepking
- How does the record of national service inform the response to COVID-19 with Dr. Leslie Lenkowsky
- How might COVID-19 affect the humanitarian impulse and what can we learn from the history of humanitarianism? with Dr. Amanda Moniz
I am looking forward to engaging with diverse perspectives on this course, and welcoming current graduate students and non-degree seeking individuals with demonstrated curiosity about philanthropy who have completed a bachelor’s degree. Together, we will work to understand philanthropy in times of crisis.
For more information about this course, please contact Director of Student Services and Admissions Pamela Clark.