Award-winning historian, teacher and author advances understanding of African-American charitable giving, philanthropy in communities of color
Tyrone McKinley Freeman, Ph.D., has been appointed the Glenn Family Chair in Philanthropy at the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy. An Associate Professor of Philanthropic Studies at the school and an adjunct Associate Professor of Africana Studies at IUPUI, Freeman is a historian of philanthropy who researches African-American charitable giving and activism.
Freeman’s work invites rethinking of traditional views of philanthropy as an arena reserved for wealthy elites and reconsideration of what philanthropy is and who can engage in it, as well as how African-American communities are understood and represented. His innovative research combines history, philanthropic studies, Africana studies and the humanities to increase awareness and understanding of African-American philanthropy, philanthropy in communities of color and the history of American philanthropy.
Widely engaged in expanding awareness of African-American philanthropy through his writing and public speaking across the country, Freeman is a Research Associate at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History in Washington D.C. where he supports the History of African American Fundraising Collecting Initiative, the Giving in America exhibit, and other projects that present philanthropy to the public. In 2022, Freeman received the international Dan David Prize, the “world’s largest history prize” for his ground-breaking research on African American philanthropy. Earlier this year, he was awarded the Indiana University Presidential Arts and Humanities Fellowship in further recognition of his contributions to the study of philanthropy using history and the humanities.
“Dr. Freeman’s work focuses on the rich diversity of philanthropy and the leadership role of Black Americans – and especially Black women – in crafting innovative, distinct giving traditions that are inspiring contemporary trends. The deep historical understanding he brings through the many traditions of American philanthropy can help inform a more equitable future,” said Amir Pasic, Eugene R. Tempel Dean of the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy. “The previous incumbents of the Glenn Family Chair, Dwight Burlingame and Patrick Rooney, were pioneers in philanthropy teaching and scholarship. We anticipate that Professor Freeman will help forge the next phase of the field that our school was founded to advance.”
Freeman’s latest book, Madam C.J. Walker’s Gospel of Giving: Black Women’s Philanthropy during Jim Crow, examines African American women’s history of charitable giving, activism, education and social service provision through the life and example of Madam C.J. Walker, the early twentieth century Black philanthropist and entrepreneur. It received the 2021 Association of Fundraising Professionals Global Skystone Partners Research Prize in Fundraising and Philanthropy, the 2021 Terry McAdam Book Award from the Alliance for Nonprofit Management, and the 2022 Madam C.J. Walker Legacy Book Award from F3: Fabulous Female Fundraisers. He is co-author of Race, Gender and Leadership in Nonprofit Organizations.
“I am very excited by this appointment. By building partnerships and collaborations in this role, I will engage history, Africana Studies and the humanities to elevate the study of generosity of communities of color, expanding the field of philanthropic and nonprofit studies, and increase the understanding and practice of philanthropy,” Freeman said.
Prior to joining the school, Freeman was a professional fundraiser for social services, community development, and higher education organizations. He also served as Associate Director of The Fund Raising School at the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, where he trained nonprofit leaders in the United States, Africa, Asia, and Europe.
Freeman previously served as Director of Undergraduate Programs at the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, where he led the B.A. in Philanthropic Studies degree program and the creation and assessment of curricula; created the first online graduate course; developed e-Portfolio pedagogies; and implemented High-Impact Practices (HIPs) in undergraduate education in collaboration with colleagues. He is also a scholar of higher education philanthropy and fundraising.
Recognition for Freeman’s work and his contributions to the field of philanthropic studies have been recognized in several ways. His research has earned two awards from the Association of Research on Nonprofit Organizations and Voluntary Action (ARNOVA) including the 2020 Best Conference Paper Award, and the 2016 Gabriel Rudney Memorial Award for Outstanding Dissertation in Nonprofit and Voluntary Action. His teaching has earned two Indiana University Board of Trustees’ Teaching Awards and the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy’s Outstanding Undergraduate Teaching Award. In 2020, Indiana University inducted him into its prestigious Faculty Academy for Excellence in Teaching.
Freeman’s work has appeared or been cited in numerous media outlets, including The New York Times, O: The Oprah Magazine, USA Today, TIME, Harvard Business Review, Stanford Social Innovation Review, NewsOne, Blavity, Black Perspectives, The Chronicle of Philanthropy, CASE Currents and Advancing Philanthropy.
A proud HBCU graduate, Freeman earned a B.A. in English/Liberal Arts from Lincoln University (Pa.), a M.S. in Adult Education from Indiana University, a Master’s in Urban and Regional Planning from Ball State University, and a Ph.D. in Philanthropic Studies from Indiana University.
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.