Dean's Update

Dean Amir Pasic

May was a month of milestones for our largest group of graduates to date as we joined families and friends to celebrate their academic achievements. Among them were three of our newly minted doctoral graduates who defended their dissertations in May and added to the stock of systematic knowledge on philanthropy. 

Meet our 66 graduates!

Commencement May 2016

I also had the pleasure of meeting with Rob Smith, president of the Eli Lilly and Company Foundation, who welcomed me to visit their office to discuss the strategic approach the company takes in its philanthropic and community engagement efforts. Mike Henderson, Lilly Family School of Philanthropy Board of Visitors Member, hosted Chair Melynne Klaus and me for an engaging lunch as we debriefed from our board meeting and concluded that Mike’s ambassadorial initiative could be a great example for others to follow. We hope all current and former board members are putting the marketing materials we sent to good use. 

Jones_GregYakey_AceI'm very pleased to announce the most recent members to our board. Ace Yakey, vice president for community development, with Lilly Endowment Inc. and Greg Jones, executive vice president and provost, with Baylor University. More information on our new members will be available shortly through our people directory on our website.

We also welcomed David Schwartz of Canada’s International Development Research Centre to the school as we explore bringing on a new research project on global philanthropy. Gary Langham, founding member of RCL Advisors in New York City, visited as well and suggested that our graduate programs would be in high demand by wealth managers. He plans to join us as a guest at our fall meeting. While up in Chicago for the launch of our study on intra-family giving dynamics with Vanguard Charitable, I also had productive meetings with John Glier of Grenzebach Glier and Associates, Caren Yanis of Crown Philanthropies, Jeff Ubois of the MacArthur Foundation, and a delightful encounter with Em Hall, M.A. ‘12 and senior vice president at One Hope United. She is a spirited champion of a stronger presence for our school in that city.

Additionally, we appointed a new visiting fellow, Mickey Levitan, an entrepreneur who sold his software company and is now exploring an innovative endowment competition for promising nonprofits to scale up with additional support based on ideas from private equity practice.

Finally, thanks to a dedicated crew who met every Monday morning during the spring semester and a larger cast of staff, faculty, alumni, friends, and family, we are pleased to have exceeded the goals for our mini-campaign to double enrollments in our executive master’s and graduate certificate programs. As of the end of May we had 41 accepted offers, one more than our goal. A wonderful way to prepare for the next academic cycle.

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News You Can Use


6, Antoine van Agtmael event hosted by Central Indiana Corporate Partnership and Lilly Family School of Philanthropy
7-8, Indiana Philanthropy Alliance (IPA)/GIFT statewide conference
9, IndyHub’s IndyVolved event
14, Giving USA 2016: The Annual Report on Philanthropy for the Year 2015 released
23-24, The Fund Raising School's Leadership Roundtable
28-July 1, International Society for Third-Sector Research (ISTR) conference, Stockholm, Sweden

18-20, Forum of Regional Associations of Grantmakers

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Academic Programs

In the spring and early summer of 2016, six students in philanthropic studies completed their doctoral work and successfully defended their dissertation. Individually completing a dissertation represents a significant and noteworthy accomplishment, the end of years of dedication to the study of a particular topic. Collectively the six showcase the breadth of research undertaken at the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy and the dedication of its faculty to mentoring these students. For example, Michal Kramarek examined faith-based volunteer organizations operating in prisons while Van Evans mapped the distribution and characteristics of the nonprofit sector in Columbia and Angela Seaworth examined board diversity of nonprofits in the Houston Metro area. Elizabeth Dale studied the giving of same sex couples while Heng Qu structured her dissertation into two essays examining nonprofit finance. Bill Cleveland, whose dissertation defense is forthcoming, drew on the Philanthropy 400 list, studied the top fundraising nonprofits over time, looking at the changing composition of this group to understand the factors that contribute to their success. 


Faculty Activities, Awards, and Publications

Charles Bantz, affiliate faculty member, completed a program at Northwestern Kellogg School of Management Executive Education in Corporate Governance. It is a program that does an excellent job regarding board of directors governance.

Catherine (Katie) Herrold, assistant professor of philanthropic studies and public affairs, commenced fieldwork in Palestine in May. She got settled into the city of Ramallah and reported back that the people are friendly and welcoming. She says, “I feel at home already.”

She observed/participated in “Active Citizen Herrold_CatherineRoundtables” hosted by Dalia Association, the only community foundation in Palestine. This workshop brought together community activists and change makers from throughout Palestine to discuss community led development.

Photo credit: Rasha Sansur

Patrick Rooney, associate dean for research and academic affairs, was involved in the following May activities:
May 6—Dissertation defense for Elizabeth Dale and Ellie Qu
May 7-8—Commencement reception and ceremony
May 16—Dissertation defense for Van Evans

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International Programs

May 16-28—Led by Professor Greg Witkowski, the study abroad course Philanthropy and Public Policy: The German Context took place in Berlin. Eight graduate and advanced undergraduate students learned from German professors, researchers, policy-makers, and leaders from the nonprofit sector, in addition to visits to state and federal agencies, local nonprofit organizations, think tanks, and philanthropic foundations. Because most basic needs are met through Germany’s extensive social welfare policies, philanthropic organizations are able to concentrate on community building and social innovation. At the center of debates surrounding globalization, environmental change, European integration and humanitarian aid, Berlin provided an opportunity to explore many global trends.

Read the student blog

International Symposium on Social Entrepreneurship (ISSE) 2016

After giving an invited presentation on social entrepreneurship at the National University of Singapore’s International Symposium on Social Entrepreneurship (ISSE), doctoral student Marina Harper remained in Singapore throughout May to conduct field research.


Summary of the event:

On behalf of the ACSEP team, I want to thank you all for making the International Symposium on Social Entrepreneurship (ISSE) 2016 a success!

At the ISSE, we hope to bring together scholars in social entrepreneurship to build the field for Asia and Singapore in particular.  Continued from last year’s inaugural Symposium, we moved the conversation from comparative landscape to the training and development of the social enterprises in ISSE 2016. Your research, findings, insights, and close-door sharing are the most valuable and appreciated to build this emerging multi-disciplinary field of social entrepreneurship.

This year, we had more than 350 people signed up and the highest turn-out during the day’s program was about 250, as almost every seat in the Shaw Foundation Auditorium was filled. This is an increase of more than 50 percent compared to last year. More than half of the audience had also participated actively by raising questions to the speakers in various sessions. We infer that there is enthusiastic interests from various stakeholders for deeper understanding of the various challenges faced by the social enterprises and the practical solutions offered. ACSEP will continue to work together with various stakeholders to further the innovations for good to Singapore and the region.

We look forward to your continuous support as we work to bring alignment of your research goals with those of ACSEP.

Warmest regards,

Dr. Weina Zhang
Department of Finance
Research Director
Asia Centre for Social Entrepreneurship and Philanthropy (ACSEP)
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Women's Philanthropy Institute

May 24—The Women’s Philanthropy Institute (WPI) released the final report from the first Gates Foundation grant, Giving to Women and Girls:  Who Gives, and Why? View the press release. It is difficult to estimate the level of giving in this area as current national surveys on philanthropic giving do not examine giving to women and girls as a distinct category of support. The WPI study highlights new data to understand who gives to women’s and girls’ causes and their motivations for support. The report is timely since support for women and girls continues to gain national and international visibility at the highest levels of government (United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goal #5), at the largest foundation in the world (Melinda Gates has identified this area as a top priority), with the collaboration of 28 women’s funds around Prosperity Together, and at the grassroots level globally. 

WPI contracted with an external communications firm to adapt the research for a broad audience and to expand the reach of the report. References anticipating the report were included in two op-eds that appeared prior to Mothers’ Day, one by Peter and Jennifer Buffett in TIME and one by Tiffany Dufu in Forbes. Social media reach was extended with an 8.6 percent increase in Twitter followers and a 76 percent increase in WPI’s Facebook followers in a week. WPI extends appreciation to all Lilly Family School of Philanthropy Staff who contributed to a productive and positive launch of this report. 

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Lake Institute on Faith & Giving

May 2-5Melissa Spas, David King, and Marc Kirchoff led a four-day Executive Certificate in Religious Fundraising course in partnership with New England Synod.

May 19-20David King and Melissa Spas led a two-day adjunct faculty training session. Through a Lilly Endowment Inc. grant, over the course of the next three years, Lake Institute is increasing its programming capacity.

May 26-28David King presented at meeting with the Fieldstead Foundation, exploring individual faculty research projects.

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May 16—The research department hosted Carol Adelman of the Hudson Institute and David Schwartz of Canada’s International Development Research Centre (IDRC). Visitors met with the research department, Dean Pasic, and others in the school regarding research and other potential partnerships.

May 19—The research department partnered with Vanguard Charitable to release A Tradition of Giving, a new study on charitable giving and volunteering within families. Dean Amir Pasic and Dr. Una Osili spoke at a roll-out event in Chicago, and were accompanied by Ann Boyd-Stewart, associate dean of development and alumni engagement, and Chelsea Clark, research project coordinator.

May 25Dr. Una Osili traveled to New York City to co-present on legacy giving alongside Claudine Donikian of Pentera. The presentation on planned gifts, a new analysis of legacy society membership data for the Philanthropic Planning Group of Greater New York (PPGGNY) for the group’s 2016 Planned Giving Day.

Looking ahead:

June 14Giving USA 2016: The Annual Report on Philanthropy for the Year 2015 will be released. Una Osili will be presenting in Washington, DC at a roll-out event at the American Institute of Architects; Dean Amir Pasic will also attend. Patrick Rooney will be presenting in Philadelphia, New York City, and Kansas City during the two weeks following the release. Giving USA products will be available at

Board of Visitors members will be provided with information about how to access Giving USA digital products closer to the launch date.

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McRobbie_Laurie BurnsThe 2016 class of the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy will be the first to organize a class gift to support faculty and course development. Indiana University’s First Lady Laurie Burns McRobbie, M.A. ‘16, spoke at graduation about her desire to give back and encouraged all graduates to participate.

Alumni Happenings

Alexander Sventeckis, M.A. ’16, accepted a new role as development officer at Indianapolis Library Foundation.

Angie Carr Klitsch, M.A. ’07, is now president and CEO of EmployIndy.

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The release of the Women’s Philanthropy Institute’s research on giving to causes benefitting women and girls was previewed in opinion editorials by Jennifer and Peter Buffett in TIME and by Tiffany Dufu in Forbes. The study generated coverage from several media outlets, including The Chronicle of Philanthropy, Inside Philanthropy, Pro Bono Australia and Women’s e-News. Debra Mesch was also cited in a Nonprofit Quarterly article about the Maverick Collective.

Our research for Vanguard Charitable about the effects of family relationships on giving was reported in articles in The Chronicle of Philanthropy and The NonProfit Times.

Tim Seiler was quoted in a Washington Post article about fundraising for the National Museum of African American History and Culture.

Les Lenkowsky was quoted in articles in The New York Times about Michael Bloomberg’s charitable giving and in the Asbury Park (NJ) Press about charitable giving by Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie.

Articles about our record number of graduates and Indiana University’s First Lady Laurie Burns McRobbie earning her master’s degree from our school appeared in the Indianapolis Business Journal and Inside IU.

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