Regardless of discipline, the context for experiential student giving is supplemented by substantial work related to both the theory and practice of philanthropy and the nonprofit landscape. This includes discussion about philanthropy and social change, the history of philanthropy, various approaches to its practice, issues of stewardship, and the development of definitions of philanthropy, including volunteer service.
Most philanthropy course offerings devote a substantial portion of the class to developing an understanding of the nonprofit landscape and the context within which organizations both seek and distribute financial resources. Goals for student learning include: an understanding of the history and role of philanthropy in the United States, appreciation for the diversity of social issues addressed by the nonprofit community, understanding of the role of the nonprofit sector and its interrelationship with government and the private sector, understanding of issues facing nonprofits (legal, ethical, governance, etc.), and recognition of emergent trends in philanthropy and fundraising, among many others.
Below are resources pulled from our collection of syllabi that may be useful for context. Please note that these resources represent a fraction of those contained in our sample syllabi and available to educators interested in teaching philanthropy.
O’Connell, Brian, ed. America’s Voluntary Spirit. New York: Foundation Center, 1983.
Clinton, Bill. Giving: How Each of Us Can Change the World. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2007.
Clotfelter, Charles. and Ehrlich, Thomas. Philanthropy and the Nonprofit Sector in a Changing America. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2001.
Frumkin, Peter. Strategic Giving: The Art and Science of Philanthropy. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2006.
Hammack, David. Making the Nonprofit Sector in the United States: A Reader. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1998.
Kass, Amy. Giving Well, Doing Good: Readings for Thoughtful Philanthropists. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2007.
Orosz, Joel. An Insider’s Guide to Grantmaking: How Foundations Find, Fund and Manage Effective Programs. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Inc. Publishers, 2000.
Payton, Robert and Moody, Michael. Understanding Philanthropy: Its Meaning and Mission. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2008.
Salamon, Lester. The State of Nonprofit America. 2nd ed. Washington, DC: Brookings Institution Press, 2010.
Articles, chapters, and online resources (summaries and overviews)
Bernholz, Lucy. “Flying Over Philanthropy,” Stanford Social Innovation Review, January 8, 2008. http://www.ssireview.org/opinion/entry/802/
Foundation Center, a national nonprofit resource for grantmakers and nonprofits, offers resources on trends in giving. http://www.foundationcenter.org/
GivingUSA Foundation is committed to advancing the research, education and pubic understanding of philanthropy. The Foundation publishes data and trends about charitable giving through its annual Giving USA publication. http://www.aafrc.org/gusa/mission.cfm
Gulati-Partee, Gita. “A Primer on Nonprofit Organizations” Popular Government, Summer 2001. http://www.sog.unc.edu/pubs/electronicversions/pg/pgsum01/article3.pdf
Payton, Robert. “The Varieties of Philanthropic Experience.” Philanthropy: Voluntary Action for the Public Good. Phoenix: Oryx Press, 1998: 37-70.
Pollak, Thomas H. and Blackwood, Amy. “The Nonprofit Sector in Brief,” The Urban Institute. http://www.urban.org/publications/311373.html
Organizations and Tools
Foundation Center, a national nonprofit resource for grantmakers and nonprofits. Of particular interest: Philanthropy News Digest and tutorials.
Grantcraft, practical tools developed through partnerships and interviews with hundreds of grantmakers.
National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy, promotes philanthropy that serves the public good, is responsive to people and communities with the least wealth and opportunity, and is held accountable to the highest standards of integrity and openness.
Project Streamline, by creating a set of principles to guide grantmakers’ decisions about their application, monitoring, and reporting practices and developing resources to support change, hopes to 1) increase awareness among grant makers of the impact of their requirements on grant seekers, and 2) reduce costs for both grant seekers and grant makers