Master's Program

“Understanding philanthropy through a wide variety of perspectives helps our students become thoughtful, innovative leaders. Consider a couple of examples. Knowing the law governing the philanthropic sector and how and why it has evolved over time helps us understand what is legal and the ways in which the law creates and curtails rights for donors, charities, and the public. Economics helps us understand the roles of the market and charities in our society and how and why they each exist independently and competitively. It helps us to plan and predict how donors and charities will react to changes in the philanthropic sector and in public policy. It provides reasons why charities exist at all and why donors might give at all.”

Patrick Rooney, Associate Dean for Academic Programs and Research

“Thoughtful reflection on the ethical ideals, virtues, and responsibilities of giving and receiving increases the understanding of philanthropy. Liberal arts education uniquely challenges students to pause, wonder, reflect, and ponder their own moral philosophy and how it fits into the world.”

Kathi Badertscher, Director of Master’s Degree Programs; Lecturer of Philanthropic Studies

“The Principles and Practices of Fundraising course is essential to those who will enter the nonprofit world as fundraisers, as well as helpful to those who seek to become program managers, executive directors, board members, even grant-makers. Understanding where fundraising fits into philanthropy and how fundraising contributes to philanthropy is one of the primary elements of effective fundraising for real-world application.”

Tim Seiler, Rosso Fellow in Philanthropic Fundraising/Clinical Professor of Philanthropic Studies

“What better place to learn about philanthropy than from one of the leading institutions in philanthropic research. I think it made my experience richer because I have had access to research that I may not have access to at other schools. We had the opportunity to take classes with and attend lectures by the world’s leading researchers and experts in philanthropy.”

Brittany Jenkins, M.A. '16, Manager of Corporate and Foundation Relations, Charlotte Rescue Mission

“My experience has been nothing but positive. The program can be entirely online, which makes things so easy for professionals like me. The enrollment process was simple to navigate, and the guidance and counsel offered by the school makes class selection easy. I love the freedom! Neither my recent move to Chicago nor my active travel schedule disrupt my goal of attaining my degree. My board of directors is thrilled that I am in school working on this degree. It adds a certain level of gravitas to my commitment to the nonprofit sector.”

Tania Castraverde Moskalenko, M.A. student and Chief Executive Officer for the Auditorium Theatre (Chicago, IL)

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Paul Nielsen, M.A. ‘15, former Graduate Assistant, Foundation Program Manager, Anthem, Inc.

“It is my privilege to study at the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy. The Hearst Fellowship has given me the support to hone my skills in philanthropy as a researcher and practitioner. I greatly appreciate the numerous opportunities to engage with some of the most talented and experienced leaders in the field. I strongly believe that these resources will guide me professionally for many years to come.”

Kim Williams-Pulfer, Hearst Minority Scholarship Recipient

“The American Red Cross is a very large and complex organization that works closely with government, for-profit, and other nonprofit organizations to make delivering on our mission possible. It is essential for our employees to understand how all of these organizations work together toward a common goal, which is exactly what the school prepares its graduates to do. Classes range from understanding volunteerism to economics and from civil society and philanthropy to nonprofit law. We know that graduates from the master’s program at the school will be ready to hit the ground running because of the breadth of their coursework.”

Barb Coury, M.A. ‘12, Regional Chief Development Officer for American Red Cross Indiana and Lilly Family School of Philanthropy Board of Visitors Member

“I discovered my true passion wasn’t about me. It was about others. My passion comes from helping others – the meaning of philanthropy. The field of philanthropy also needs you to help move all this interest in “doing good” into meaningful action for social change. The playing field has been established, and the general public is on the sidelines. They are waiting for you to take their interest and do something remarkable for others.”

Derrick Feldmann, M.A. ’04, President of Achieve, author of Social Movements for Good: How Companies and Causes Create Viral Change, Founder of Millennial Impact Project and MCON, the nation’s premier conference on millennials and social good, and Lilly Family School of Philanthropy Board of Visitors Member

“Earning a master’s degree from the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy provided me with a strong foundation and the necessary skills for a successful career in the nonprofit sector. The program grew and deepened my understanding and knowledge of philanthropy in ways that prepared me to serve in a grantmaker capacity and as a volunteer nonprofit board member.”

Christine Marson, M.A. ‘10, Senior Program Officer, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

“Community foundations have a vital role in addressing problems facing their local communities, and they can foster charitable giving across the globe as well. I can’t think of a better place to teach students the value of these services than the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy. I am deeply honored to have been the first person to serve in this important role and be a regular visitor to the school.”

Emmett D. Carson, Ph.D., CEO and President of Silicon Valley Community Foundation (SVCF), nationally recognized philanthropy leader, and first person to serve in the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation Chair on Community Foundations