About the ASU Lodestar Center

The ASU Lodestar Center for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Innovation is a global leader in advancing understanding and effective philanthropic and nonprofit practice as a distinctive community development strategy. The Center educates, empowers and connects nonprofit leaders to accelerate social impact.


To build the capacity of the social sector by enhancing the effectiveness of those who lead, manage, and support nonprofit and philanthropic organizations.


The quality of life in communities is strengthened and enriched through impactful philanthropy and effective nonprofit practice.


  • Collaboration: Empowering and leveraging resources to strengthen communities and increase impact.
  • Creativity: Generation and dissemination of knowledge based on a leading-edge, innovative, and transformational culture.
  • Excellence: All services of the Center are of the highest quality.
  • Inclusiveness: Respecting, valuing and intentionally engaging diverse cultures, perspectives, and abilities.
  • Trust: Demonstrating integrity, transparency, accountability and ethical principles as a commitment to public value and the common good.

What we do

Through research, education, and outreach activities, the ASU Lodestar Center enhances the effectiveness of those who govern, manage, provide programs and services, volunteer for, and support nonprofit and philanthropic organizations.

Who we serve

  • Individuals who currently, or aspire to, lead and support nonprofit and philanthropic organizations.
  • Nonprofit and philanthropic organizations and their supporting networks.

Our history

Through research, education, technical assistance and convenings, the Center focuses on advancing nonprofit leaders and philanthropists to solve problems, to realize a community’s highest aspirations and to accelerate social impact.

America's nonprofit and philanthropic organizations, including global NGO’s, are essential social institutions that enhance the quality of life in communities. These organizations, including IRS 501(c)(3) public benefit nonprofits in the United States that touch every aspect of life and often serve the most vulnerable. They are only as effective as the individuals who serve in leadership and management roles, and this effectiveness is influenced greatly by volunteers and philanthropists who give time, money and know-how to causes they care about. By improving the practice of these individuals, including philanthropists, nonprofit organizations will be strengthened and the quality of life in communities will improve. In return, improved scholarship is possible when practitioners are partners in relevant research endeavors.

The Center was developed by Arizona State University's respected American Humanics undergraduate program and created after an extensive and inclusive process involving faculty, staff, students, nonprofits, funders, and was bolstered by a major grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation's Building Bridges Initiative. The Center enhances the effectiveness of nonprofits through interdisciplinary strategies reflecting the intersection of nonprofit leadership and management, philanthropy and social entrepreneurship/enterprise. The history of American Humanics at ASU owes its founding to the vision and commitment of George F. Miller, Sr., who, along with John D. Armstrong, Dr. Glenn W. Cheatham, members of the Phoenix Rotary Club 100 and other community champions, raised the resources necessary to assure that ASU would emerge as an anchor in what was then the emerging field of nonprofit leadership and management. In memory of George F. Miller, Sr., the family provides funds for what is the longest standing award (since 1981) given to the outstanding student of the university’s Nonprofit Leadership Alliance (formerly American Humanics, Inc.) program each year.

In 1999, the Arizona Board of Regents approved the then Center for Nonprofit Leadership and Management to become a comprehensive academic center to enhance the effectiveness of nonprofits and to serve as a resource to those who lead, manage and support nonprofits through several interdisciplinary areas of focus:

  • Research that Matters
  • Nonprofit Leadership Education:
  • Professional Development
  • Academic Degrees
  • Assistance to Nonprofits and Volunteers/Philanthropists
  • Conferences and Convenings

In March 2008, following a decade of high impact programming supported by investments from foundations, individuals and corporations, the Center for Nonprofit Leadership and Management became the ASU Lodestar Center for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Innovation thanks to a naming investment from the Lodestar Foundation.