Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University

The Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University's mission is "to increase the understanding of philanthropy and improve its practice through research, teaching, and public service." The Indianapolis-based Center acts as a liaison between the academic world of researchers and professors and that of nonprofit managers and workers.


The Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University's mission is "to increase the understanding of philanthropy and improve its practice through research, teaching, and public service." The Center describes philanthropy as voluntary association, voluntary giving, and voluntary action for the common good, and it achieves its mission through academic programs, research and practical training offered both nationally and internationally.

Warren Ilchman, former executive director of the Center, defined university academic centers as being part of, yet separate from, the university. They exist to accelerate the understanding and practice of a field. Centers are established to avoid the isolation of universities and to mediate between universities and the outside world. In this way, the Center on Philanthropy acts as a liaison between researchers and academic professors and nonprofit managers and workers. In addition, the center is home to the nationally recognized Fund Raising School that assists fundraising professionals in creating and maintaining "best practices." The center is headquartered in Indianapolis on the urban campus of Indiana University-Purdue University.

Historic Roots

The formation of Indiana University's Center on Philanthropy is closely tied with the well-known Fund Raising School. In the 1970s, Henry A. Rosso and two partners founded the Fund Raising School in San Francisco. It moved to Indianapolis in 1988, a year after the Center on Philanthropy was created. The aim of the Center was not only to consider fund raising issues, but also philanthropy as a broad subject including volunteerism and public policy. Its creators envisioned an academic program, which has been realized.

The Center was conceived by a group of individuals including Henry A. Rosso, fund raising consultant and the first director of the Fund Raising School in San Francisco; Robert L. Payton, Professor Emeritus, Philanthropic Studies, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI); Charles A. Johnson, retired vice president for Development, Lilly Endowment; and Eugene R. Tempel, former vice president of the Indiana University Foundation, vice president of External Affairs, IUPUI. Henry Schaller, a retiring Dean of Indiana University, served as the first Director of Operations, followed by Robert Payton as the first full-time executive director in 1987. Eugene Tempel is the Center's current executive director.

The founders of the Center believed that the nonprofit sector and philanthropy was one of the "most misunderstood, understudied, under documented and least visible" aspects of American life. To address these issues, the Center was created with financial support from Lilly Endowment, one of the country's largest private foundations. IUPUI, numerous foundations and individuals that recognize philanthropy as a critical element in community building fund the Center's programs and operations. Over time, these programs expanded to include academic programs that extend internationally, in-house research, and publications.


The Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University exists with the purpose of increasing the understanding of philanthropy and improving its practice through programs in research, teaching, public service, and public affairs. The center has been a principal force in the movement to legitimize philanthropy as a field of study. From basic issues such as what the sector including nonprofit organizations should be called (nonprofit, philanthropic, voluntary, independent or third) to complex issues like the role of nonprofits in a time of declining welfare support, there is yet a place for academic debate. Though the Center explores such relevant social questions, it strives to maintain a balance between the academic and the practical; to provide useful assistance and training for grassroots organizations, while lending research and public policy support.

The first master's degree program in philanthropic studies was initiated by the center in 1993 and, by 2001, over 60 academic staff instructed students in a wide variety of graduate level and professional programs. Academic programs offered include: a Master of Arts in Philanthropic Studies (M.A.); a Master of Public Affairs in Nonprofit Management (M.P.A.); a dual M.A./M.P.A.; an executive M.A. for working professionals; a Certificate of Fund Raising Management (via The Fund Raising School); and the Executive Leadership Institute, held annually in conjunction with the American Fundraising Professionals. The Hearst Minority Fellowship and the Jane Addams-Andrew Carnegie Fellowship Program offer fellowship support for qualified students.

The Fund Raising School, the only university-based, national fund raising training program in the United States, is the cornerstone of the Center's public services. The school started in California and joined the Indiana Center in 1987. The school conducts educational and training classes throughout the U.S. and abroad. Regular and customized courses for individuals and groups are offered; some may include onsite training.

Books, essays, working papers, and multimedia are published by the Center and used by students and practitioners to increase an understanding of philanthropy. There are over 200 titles in more than a dozen subject areas. Also published are the quarterly newsletter Philanthropy Matters, an annual report, and an essay series that includes contributions from researchers and practitioners across the field. In collaboration with Indiana University Press, the Center edits a comprehensive book series in philanthropic and nonprofit studies.

The Center on Philanthropy also offers forums for discussion on a number of other topics related to the field. An annual symposium entitled "Taking Fund Raising Seriously," examines such topics as income sources, ethics, the role of trustees, the language and rhetoric of fundraising, the impact of technology, donor relations, and how young people give. Most recently, in 1999, the Center began an Institute for Community Foundations in collaboration with the Council on Foundations Professional Action Team. The institute offers leadership training to community foundation executives, staff, boards, and volunteers.

Ties to the Philanthropic Sector

The Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University serves as a national clearinghouse for education, research, training, and public service programs pertaining to the nonprofit sector. Programs and services created which assist with the education and understanding of philanthropy or "voluntary action for the public good" are the basis of its activities. The Center's areas of operation include Academic Programs, Research, Public Services, and Development and Communications. The Center's work is intended to connect activities with the outside world and practitioners, while offering policy study and academic programming.

Regular and ongoing research activities contribute to the development of reports significant to the sector. These reports include the Philanthropic Giving Index, which shares current trends and future expectations in American philanthropic giving; Indiana Gives; research on giving for the American Association of Fund Raising Counsel's annual publication, Giving USA; and research on giving and volunteering with the University of Michigan's Institute for Social Research Panel Study of Income Dynamics (PSID). The Center is a collaborating partner on one PSID module that tracks the giving and volunteering patterns of a sample size of 7,300 families; the module considers changes in the participants' social, economic, and marital status, education, and health over time.

After widespread success in training for major nonprofits in the U.S., the Fund Raising School formed partnerships with nonprofits in other countries. The School began offering training in Mexico in 1995 with Procura, an organization that assists nonprofits with personnel and volunteer development. Similarly, in 1998, the Fund Raising School partnered with CEDES, a nonprofit research center in Argentina, to provide fundraising training in that country.

Key Related Ideas

The only library devoted exclusively to philanthropic studies, the Robert and Matthew Payton Philanthropic Studies Library, is located on the IUPUI campus. It serves as a national and international resource for nonprofits, fundraising, and charitable giving. The library houses a collection of philanthropic archives that includes records from foundations and fundraising consultants and professionals.

The Institute on Philanthropy and Voluntary Service was established for college undergraduates in 1999, the first of its kind in the nation. Formed in partnership with the Fund for American Studies, it offers intensive summer institutes that engage college students in an examination of philanthropy as it relates to economic concepts, political systems, and moral philosophy.

Important People Related to the Topic

Dr. Dwight F. Burlingame , associate executive director and professor of Philanthropic Studies in the graduate school, developed the first curriculum working with Robert L. Payton. Dr. Burlingame has published seven books and many articles on philanthropy, fundraising, and the nonprofit sector. He also worked to incorporate the study of policy issues, and historical and ethical discussions into the graduate program.

In the late 1970s, Dr. Charles Johnson, former vice president with the Lilly Endowment, began conversations with Henry Rosso about moving the Fund Raising School from San Francisco to Indianapolis. He engaged Robert Payton with the Center on Philanthropy, by asking him to consult. The Lilly Endowment was instrumental in providing initial funding support for the center.

Robert L. Payton , professor emeritus of Philanthropic Studies, was director of the Center on Philanthropy and, in 1993, became the nation's first full Professor of Philanthropic Studies. He previously served as President of Exxon Education Foundation, and President of C.W. Post College and Hofstra University.

Henry A. Rosso was founding director and director emeritus of the Fund Raising School. Previously, Mr. Rosso was senior vice president and member of the board of directors of G.A. Brakeley and Company, a national fundraising consulting firm.

Dr. Eugene R. Tempel is executive director of the Center on Philanthropy and a professor of Philanthropic Studies and Public Administration. He played a key role in the Center's establishment and is well known for his expertise in fundraising and nonprofit management. Dr. Tempel previously served as vice-chancellor for external affairs at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis.

Related Nonprofit Organizations

American Association of Fund Raising Counsel and AAFRC Trust
Member firms of the AAFRC provide fundraising counsel and direction to nonprofits in North America whose goals directly relate to philanthropy. This organization's purpose is to advance the field of fundraising and promote philanthropy. Center staff does research and writing for Giving USA under contract with the AAFRC Trust.

The Aspen Institute's Nonprofit Sector Research Fund
The Aspen Institute is a global forum for leaders from various disciplines to discuss critical issues. The Institute has several offices in the U.S. as well as partners in Europe and Asia. The Nonprofit Sector Research Fund awards research grants to support studies that examine the nonprofit sector and philanthropy.

ARNOVA (Association for Research on Nonprofit Organizations and Voluntary Action)
ARNOVA is a membership organization that promotes practical research related to the field of philanthropy and nonprofit management. The Association's annual conference allows for sharing of significant research in the field. The ARNOVA office is located at the Indiana University Center on Philanthropy.

Procura (Mexico)
The mission of Procura, founded in 1995, is to develop professional, ethical and philanthropic personnel, consultants, and volunteers for nonprofit organizations in Mexico. Its primary purpose is to teach the Fund Raising School courses in Spanish to nonprofit personnel throughout Mexico and other Latin American countries. Procura also provides consulting to the sector and promotes research on topics relevant to Mexican philanthropy and fundraising.

CEDES - Centro de Estudios de Estado y Sociedad (Argentina)

Since 1998, courses of the Fund Raising School have been offered in Argentina through an agreement between the Indiana University Center on Philanthropy and Centro de Estudios de Estado y Sociedad (CEDES), a nonprofit research center. Spanish-language translations of courses are offered on a regular basis; schedules are listed on the CEDES Web page. In addition, graduate courses in social development and civil society are available through the Universidad de San Andres and Torcuato Di Tella. Visit CEDES at:

Bibliography and Internet Resources

Burlingame, Dwight. 1993. Interview by Jeanne Harrah. Center on Philanthropy Oral History Project. Indiana University Oral Research Center, 25 September 1993.

The Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University [online]. Available: (2 May 2002).

The Fund for American Studies. "Institute on Philanthropy and Voluntary Service" [online]. Available: (4 May 2002).

Indiana University Center on Philanthropy. Annual Report. Indianapolis, Indiana: Indiana University Center on Philanthropy, 2000.

Payton, Robert L. 1993. Interview by Jeanne Harrah. Center on Philanthropy Oral History Project. Indiana University Oral Research Center, 1 July 1993.

Payton, Robert L. 1993. Interview by Jeanne Harrah. Center on Philanthropy Oral History Project. Indiana University Oral Research Center, 21 October 1993.

Robert and Matthew Payton Philanthropic Studies Library [online]. Available: (3 May 2002).

Tempel, Eugene. 1993. Interview by Jeanne Harrah. Center on Philanthropy Oral History Project. Indiana University Oral Research Center, 24 September 1993.

This paper was developed by a student taking a Philanthropic Studies course taught at Indiana University School of Public & Environmental Affairs. It is offered by Learning To Give and Indiana University School of Public & Environmental Affairs.