Expert and author known for connecting theory and practice to advance philanthropy and nonprofits will conduct research, teach students and professionals
Michael P. Moody, Ph.D., has been named Professor of Philanthropic Studies at the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy.
A widely noted philanthropy scholar, Moody served for the past 13 years as the first holder of the Frey Foundation Chair for Family Philanthropy at the Dorothy A. Johnson Center for Philanthropy at Grand Valley State University (GVSU), in Grand Rapids, Mich. He previously held faculty positions at Boston University and the University of Southern California and founded and led Moody Philanthropic Consulting, which provided research and other services to donors, nonprofits, and philanthropic support organizations.
Moody’s decades of research, teaching, writing and speaking have greatly expanded and improved the understanding and practice of philanthropy and nonprofit organizations. He is especially known for bridging scholarship and professional practice in ways that are accessible to diverse audiences yet informed by the latest research.
Trained as a cultural sociologist with a special emphasis on philanthropic ethics, Moody’s work focuses on topics such as theories and critiques of philanthropy, Gen X and Millennial giving, family foundations, venture philanthropy, donor learning, and nonprofits’ debates about the public good, among other issues.
Moody is co-author of the books Understanding Philanthropy: Its Meaning and Mission (written with Robert Payton), The Philanthropy Reader, and Generation Impact: How Next Gen Donors Are Revolutionizing Giving, as well as many other publications. His books have won major awards, including the Association of Fundraising Professionals/Skystone Partners Prize for Research, and have been produced as audiobooks, translated into several languages, and featured as best-sellers in the philanthropy category.
At the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, Moody will continue and expand his research, writing and speaking on those and other topics while also teaching graduate, undergraduate and professional training courses.
“We are delighted to welcome Michael Moody as a key member of our school’s Philanthropic Studies faculty. Dr. Moody’s thoughtful approach to examining philanthropy combines the depth of the scholarly imagination that brought us the foundational text of Payton and Moody’s Understanding Philanthropy with an accessible style that is valued by practitioners across the nation and beyond,” said Amir Pasic, the Eugene R. Tempel Dean of the school. “His passion for bringing the humanities together with social sciences and his examination of the philosophical and ethical questions and challenges in our field will offer our students and philanthropy professionals innovative insights and additional opportunities to explore these important aspects of their work.”
Moody was one of the earliest employees of the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University, the precursor to the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy. He helped with efforts such as seeding philanthropic research across the university, administering an early fellowship program and developing curriculum for the university’s first philanthropic studies degree programs.
"In a way, this role is one I've been working toward over my entire 35-year career in this field,” Moody said. “My mentor, Robert Payton, was extremely proud to say he was the first ever 'Professor of Philanthropic Studies' - not just at Indiana University but anywhere. I could not be prouder to now assume that same title.
“I plan to take full advantage of this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to teach and advise the next generation of students and scholars of philanthropy, and to pioneer new multidisciplinary research and theory,” Moody added. “I will also continue my avid engagement with philanthropic professionals and the broader public, working to improve understanding of the vital role philanthropy plays in all our lives, and sparking fresh dialogue about the big questions and tough challenges confronting this rapidly evolving and diversifying field. I believe the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy is the best place in the world to do that work.
“I’m extremely thankful for the opportunity these past 13 years to serve as the inaugural Frey Foundation Chair at the Johnson Center at GVSU, and I have endless gratitude to the Frey family and other supporters, as well as GVSU colleagues. I hope this new role allows me to build even more productive partnerships between the Johnson Center and the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy.”
A frequent speaker across the U.S. and worldwide, Moody is a sought-after commentator on philanthropic trends and research. His work has been featured in The New York Times, The Washington Post, Forbes, The Chronicle of Philanthropy, Stanford Social Innovation Review, Alliance, and many other outlets.
Moody received a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Indiana University Bloomington and a master’s degree in social science from the University of Chicago. He earned his Ph.D. in sociology from Princeton University, with a scholarly focus on philanthropic giving and nonprofit organizations. He is married to political theorist and human rights scholar Karen Zivi.
About the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy
The Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy is dedicated to improving philanthropy to improve the world by training and empowering students and professionals to be innovators and leaders who create positive and lasting change. The school offers a comprehensive approach to philanthropy through its undergraduate, graduate, certificate and professional development programs, its research and international programs, and through The Fund Raising School, Lake Institute on Faith & Giving, Mays Family Institute on Diverse Philanthropy, Women’s Philanthropy Institute, and the Muslim Philanthropy Initiative. Follow us on X (formerly known as Twitter), LinkedIn, or Instagram and “Like” us on Facebook.