The act of voluntarily giving private resources for public benefit, or “philanthropy,” spans many centuries and cultures. At the University of Pittsburgh, GSPIA’s Philanthropy Forum seeks to build a bridge across campus and into the world of philanthropic practice to explore these dynamics. Through teaching, practice-based research and exchange with practitioners and thought leaders, GSPIA’s Philanthropy Forum examines the innovations and implications arising from the field. The Forum highlights philanthropic advances or practices originated in Pittsburgh, a city whose substantial foundation resources and philanthropic leadership provide rich opportunities for inquiry.

Core activities of the Forum include a graduate-level course on philanthropy and society, creation of teaching tools and research developed from applied knowledge, an annual speaker’s series and the Pittsburgh Philanthropy Project, a multi-faceted initiative.

As a virtual “center,” or thematic learning platform, the Forum seeks to:

  • Create educational opportunities through core activities and university-wide
  • Facilitate exchanges and relationships between practitioners and the university
  • Complement GSPIA’s strengths and Pittsburgh’s philanthropic heritage by connecting local, national and global issues and practitioners
  • Contribute applied knowledge and new perspectives about philanthropy
  • Create practice-based teaching and learning tools
  • Support research on funding practices that sustain nonprofit activity
  • Extend GSPIA’s track record in thought leadership

The Forum is led by Kathleen W. Buechel, Senior Lecturer in Public and International Affairs at GSPIA. Ms. Buechel is former president of Alcoa Foundation, a global asset-based corporate foundation. She continues to be involved in numerous philanthropic activities and serves as executive director of The Benter Foundation.