The Philanthropy Forum

Offering a setting to explore the dynamics of philanthropy’s impact and intentions.

The Philanthropy Forum The Philanthropy Forum

About the Philanthropy Forum

The Philanthropy Forum highlights philanthropic advances that originated in Pittsburgh, tapping the city’s rich humanitarian tradition as a learning laboratory for current practice and past progress. We offer a graduate-level course on philanthropy and society; an annual lecture series on the future of philanthropy in uncertain times; and the Pittsburgh Philanthropy Project, a multi-year endeavor to chronicle the important story of giving and goodwill in Pittsburgh.

The Pittsburgh Philanthropy Project is an online resource that includes a series of oral history interviews, resulting in a one-of-a-kind historical resource of the perspectives of local humanitarians, foundation officers, and civic leaders, intended to be continually curated by future generations.

In the Classroom

Kathleen W. Buechel, directory of the Philanthropy Forum, teaches a semester-long course that traces the historic origins and contemporary expressions of philanthropy worldwide. It offers an overview of the multiple dimensions of this growing and increasingly global source of capital and innovation in the nonprofit sector. You’ll become familiar with who gives and why, and how they organize and structure their giving. The course examines instrumental, transformational, and expressive strategies, and how new approaches like philanthropy and giving circles are opening and diversifying the field.

You’ll explore the historic tensions between charity and social innovation, along with more recent topics like accountability, measuring social impact, sustainability, governance, and related public policy issues. You’ll also participate in the Philanthropy Project, blending course theory and readings with hands-on grant-making experience, as you help research, vet, and award a pool of grant funds to local nonprofits.