For over 15 years, the ASU Lodestar Center has been providing knowledge and tools to those who lead and manage nonprofit organizations helping to build the capacity of the social sector. With the investment from the Lodestar Foundation, the Center launched its Advancing Philanthropy Initiative, which extends our focus to supporting, informing and understanding the practice of philanthropy – the “support” side of our mission. Through the Advancing Philanthropy Initiative, current and potential philanthropists – individuals and families – will benefit from knowledge, tools and resources that help them maximize the impact of their contributions.

In 2009, the Advancing Philanthropy Program Manager, Center Director, and key Center staff conducted a “philanthropy listening tour;” a series of more than three dozen conversations with valley philanthropic and nonprofit community leaders on behalf of the Advancing Philanthropy Initiative. The goal of these conversations was to learn more about the Arizona’s philanthropic landscape and understand how the Center can best leverage the Advancing Philanthropy Initiative to provide knowledge and tools to enhance donor effectiveness. These conversations informed the business planning process for the Advancing Philanthropy Initiative, strengthened the Center’s existing relationships and created new connections on behalf of our work.

Later that year in 2009, the Center hosted its first-ever Philanthropists' Forum, a convening to facilitate sharing among fellow philanthropists practices for effective giving during challenging economic times. Bringing together the best knowledge and experience of philanthropy with the ASU Lodestar Center’s understanding of nonprofit organizations and philanthropic practices, the forum provided participants with a greater perspective on effective giving. Additionally, the ASU Lodestar Center used the information shared by forum participants to create an authoritative report, thus extending the positive findings of the forum to Arizona’s entire philanthropic community.

Philanthropists' Forum

The inaugural Philanthropists' Forum was held in December 2009. The purpose of the Forum was to bring selected philanthropists together to engage in structured conversations that revealed important insights about giving practices in the current economy.

The forum was facilitated by Dr. Salvatore LaSpada, CEO of the Institute for Philanthropy, and featured the following panelists:

  • Don Budinger, Founder and former President of Rodel, Inc.
  • Nita Francis, President of the F2 Family Foundation
  • Carol Schilling, Trustee for the Nina Mason Pulliam Charitable Trust
  • Patricia Lewis, ACFRE, Senior Professional-in-Residence and Faculty Associate at the ASU Lodestar Center

The ASU Lodestar Center believes a vibrant and healthy philanthropic community helps ensure a thriving nonprofit sector and, through the Advancing Philanthropy Initiative, seeks to understand, inform, and inspire the practice of effective and innovative philanthropy.

Full report available here.