PhilanthropyMattersPhilanthropyMatters focuses on the "who, how and what" of philanthropy. This programming accentuates the ASU Lodestar Center’s role as a regional, national and global knowledge leader in nonprofit and philanthropic themes. Learn about past events.


Our next event

Lucy Bernholz

How We Give Now, featuring Lucy Bernholz

Join us on May 24 for a virtual event with Lucy Bernholz, Ph.D. Lucy is a senior research scholar at the Stanford University Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society, where she directs the Digital Civil Society Lab. She is the author of the new book "How We Give Now: A Philanthropic Guide for the Rest of Us," highlighting that today's philanthropy is more than writing a check and claiming a tax deduction.

The program will also include panelists from Arizona's diverse Givingsphere, who will discuss how they give money, time, talent and testimony to help our communities.

Special thanks to our collaborating partner, the Arizona Community Foundation, through their Giving Circles and Initiatives partnerships.


Philanthropy Matters asks deep questions, shares knowledge, encourages innovation and connects leaders.

Programmatic Overview

PhilanthropyMatters was developed to continue advancing the Center’s Philanthropy portfolio. This programming accentuates the ASU Lodestar Center’s role as a regional, national and global knowledge leader in nonprofit and philanthropic themes, building on its growing reputation as the “go to” resource for those seeking understanding about philanthropy and its effective practice.

1 | Philanthropy Forums and Summits

The Center hosts convenings on topics of great interest to the philanthropic sector. These events range in size from intimate salon gatherings to large-scale events. Speaker are nationally- or internationally-renowned and will draw attendees from across the field of philanthropy. The Center also partners with various other stakeholders to create leading-edge programming and promote dialogue on contemporary topics that demand discussion by those in the field.

2 | Philanthropic Research

The ASU Lodestar Center fills a unique research niche as a philanthropic center located in the southwestern United States. The ASU Lodestar Center is developing signature research projects in conjunction with other university partners.

For more information about PhilanthropyMatters, please contact Jill Watts, Director of Capacity Building Initiatives, at 602-496-0189 or by email at

Robert Ashcraft, executive director of the ASU Lodestar Center, leads a discussion at a Philanthropy Matters event.

Dr. Robert Ashcraft, Executive Director of the ASU Lodestar Center and Board Chair of the U.S.-Mexico Border Philanthropy Partnership, introduces the panelists at the January 12, 2017 event "U.S.-Mexico Philanthropy: Expectations and Opportunities for 2017."

Philanthropy Matters diagram

PhilanthropyMatters focuses on the "who, how, and what" of philanthropy. Click on the thumbnail image above to view a PDF diagram of how these elements are handled in this program.

Previous events

CommYOUnity Solutions – Philanthropy for Social Impact: Oct. 2019

How do we stop managing problems and begin co-creating real, innovative solutions to our community’s biggest challenges? Attendees joined us on October 7, 2019, for a conversation with two thought leaders to discuss how to move the needle on social problems and the role of philanthropy in this paradigm shift. Lodestar Center Executive Director Dr. Robert Ashcraft facilitated the discussion with two distinguished panelists: David Bornstein, New York Times writer and the CEO and co-founder of the Solutions Journalism Network, which works to establish solutions journalism — rigorous reporting that examines responses to social problems — as an integral part of mainstream news; and Jeff Snell, Vice Provost for Lifelong Learning at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Sr. Fellow for Social Innovation at the ASU Lodestar Center and founder of Midwest Social Innovation LLC, where he provides leadership to social enterprise models and facilitates interdisciplinary learning to embed social innovation as a tool for solutions.

Strategic Philanthropy Accelerator – The Philanthropy Workshop: Jan. 2019

In partnership with The Philanthropy Workshop (TPW), an internationally renowned leader in philanthropic education with offices in London, New York City and San Francisco, the ASU Lodestar Center for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Innovation provided content to engage participants in discussion to better understand the role of philanthropy in implementing place-based strategies to solve complex social problems. To conduct this exercise, the Lodestar Center developed a case study based on the “Maryvale One Square Mile Initiative,” a new endeavor by ASU that focuses on this geographic region just west of downtown Phoenix. Center Executive Director and ASU Saguaro Professor of Civic Enterprise, Dr. Robert Ashcraft facilitated the group’s analysis of the case and approaches based on the TWP framework of a “philanthropic roadmap.” The event was Jan. 22, 2019, at the Hermosa Inn in Paradise Valley, Arizona.

From Passenger to Driver: Women Driving Bold Philanthropy: Oct. 2018

Our fifth PhilanthropyMatters program was an interactive presentation on how women are accelerating social impact through philanthropy, Oct. 23, 2018, at Cattle Track Arts Compound in Scottsdale, Ariz. Debra Mesch, professor of philanthropic studies at the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy at Indiana University, opened with a presentation on the latest research about women's giving. Amy Gibbons, who retired as president of Boys & Girls Clubs of Metropolitan Phoenix, moderated a panel conversation on philanthropy with three women: Juanita F. Francis, president of the F2 Family Foundation; Jackie Norton, president and CEO of the Rodel Foundation; and Cindy Watts, who co-founded Sunstate Equipment and in 2018 made a $30 million gift with her husband, Mike, to ASU's public service college, which was renamed the Watts College of Public Service and Community Solutions. The event was presented in collaboration with the Women's Philanthropy Institute at Indiana University. Event partners included Arizona Community Foundation, Arizona Foundation for Women, Arizona Grantmakers Forum, ASU Women and Philanthropy, Charter 100 AZ, Junior League of Phoenix, Social Venture Partners Arizona and Valley of the Sun United Way's Women United.

Rusty Stahl: Why Everyone Should Invest in America’s Nonprofit Workforce: March 2018

Rusty Stahl, the founder, president and CEO of Fund the People, delivered the keynote at the 19th Annual Forum on Nonprofit Effectiveness in Tucson, Arizona. His thesis: Our communities, environment and economy all benefit when nonprofit leaders have the support to not just survive, but to thrive, and investing in the nonprofit workforce is the best thing we can do to increase performance and impact across the social sector. It is also a matter of ensuring social justice within the very organizations that work for social justice out in the world, Stahl argued. The talk was presented in partnership with the ASU Lodestar Center's PhilanthropyMatters programming.

Impact Through Philanthropy: Feb. 2018

On Feb. 8, 2018, at the ASU Beus Center for Law and Society, more than 70 attendees learned about a new research study by ASU that explores the “Social Return on Investment” (SROI) of nonprofits in Arizona. This research breaks down the tangible results produced by nonprofits into the things we care about -- like healthier communities, more educated populations, and sustainable environments -- and shows how these outcomes contribute to vital and measurable community benefits like civic engagement and job development. Speakers and panel members included Dr. Anthony Evans, Senior Research Fellow, L. William Seidman Research Institute, WP Carey School of Business; Robert F. Ashcraft, Ph.D., Executive Director, ASU Lodestar Center; Kristi Tate, Senior Advisor, Civic & Community Engagement Initiatives, Center for the Future of Arizona; and Dr. Raquel Gutierrez, Director of Strategic Learning & Practice, Vitalyst Health Foundation.

Achieving High Impact Philanthropy: Nov. 2017

Nearly 75 community members and nonprofit sector leaders joined the ASU Lodestar Center for the second event in our PhilanthropyMatters Speaker Series, "Achieving High Impact Philanthropy," on Nov. 2, 2017, at the Arizona Community Foundation. The evening featured a keynote presentation by Katherina Rosqueta, the Founding Executive Director for the Center for High Impact Philanthropy at the University of Pennsylvania. Kat Rosqueta shared key insights culminating from 10 years of research at the prestigious center she founded. The evening also featured a panel conversation between Kat Rosqueta, Terri Wogan Calderon, the Executive Director and Partner of Social Venture Partners Arizona (SVPAZ) and Jacky Alling, the Chief Philanthropy Officer of the Arizona Community Foundation. The panel was moderated by Robert Ashcraft, Ph.D., the Executive Director of the ASU Lodestar Center.

U.S.-Mexico Philanthropy: Expectations and Opportunities for 2017: Jan. 2017

The first event was held January 12, 2017 in partnership with the U.S. Mexico Border Philanthropy Partnership and the Arizona Community Foundation, Community Foundation for Southern Arizona, Chicanos por la Causa and the ASU Lodestar Center for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Innovation. The event explored the challenges and opportunities for collaboration amongst donors and nonprofits in the border region. The event featured José Antonio Aguayo, Deputy Consul, Consulate General of Mexico in Phoenix; Dr. Robert Ashcraft, Executive Director, ASU Lodestar Center and Board Chair, U.S.-Mexico Border Philanthropy Partnership; Claudia Jasso-Stevens, Board Member, Community Foundation for Southern Arizona, Arizona; Hon. Amanda Aguirre, Former State Senator and President, Regional Center for Border Health, Arizona; Lucila Murguia de Arronte, Founder, Fundación Integra / Executive Director, Junta de Asistencia Privada, Chihuahua; Francisco Fernandez Jaramillo, Board Chair, Fundación del Empresariado Sonorense, Sonora; Enrique Díaz Rivera, Board Member, Fundación Tichi Muñoz, Sonora; and Lisa Urias, Board Member, Arizona Community Foundation, Arizona.