In 1991, two visionary women—Sondra Shaw-Hardy and Martha Taylor—established the National Network of Women as Philanthropists (NNWP) at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, the forerunner to the Women’s Philanthropy Institute. They pioneered the concepts that fundraising is not one-size-fits-all and that women would step into their philanthropy. NNWP became the Women’s Philanthropy Institute and was incorporated as a free-standing nonprofit in 1997.
History & Resources
Growth and a move
The Women’s Philanthropy Institute moved to the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy in 2004 and expanded its mission to include research as well as education. Dr. Debra Mesch joined WPI as director in 2008. WPI is the only such institute located in an academic and research institution dedicated to furthering the understanding of gender and philanthropy through research, education, and knowledge dissemination.Review a comprehensive WPI timeline
Explore the world of women’s philanthropy
These resources are a great place to start. You’ll find even more in our IUScholarWorks community.
- The Changing Role of Women in American Society
The Women's Philanthropy Institute examines the key predictors of women's philanthropy.
- An introduction to women and philanthropy
Women are engaged in philanthropy through models such as women’s funds, giving circles, and special initiatives. Learn more about women’s multifaceted, kaleidoscopic approaches.Read A Brief Introduction to Women and Philanthropy
- Women’s philanthropy on campus
This handbook is designed to help college and university development leadership and staff think strategically about engaging all alumni and prospective donors in the organization’s mission.Read Women’s Philanthropy on Campus
- Women’s giving circles
Meet the women founders of giving circles as they share their stories. Learn about organizing, recruiting, and retaining members.Read Women’s Giving Circles: Reflections from the Founders