Forum speakers provide a working window on philanthropy’s dynamism for the university and broader community in two specific tracks: The Future of Philanthropy in Uncertain Times and a luncheon series with Newer Philanthropists.

Eight Years of Lectures: A Snapshot of Philanthropy

Celebrating eight years of engaging thought leaders about the opportunities, promising practices, and imperatives shaping the future of philanthropy in uncertain times.

Please click here to view or download a posterized summary of the twenty-six speakers who have delivered lectures in our series, The Future of Philanthropy in Uncertain Times. The PDF document includes key themes, brief quotes, and images of our guests.

Please click here to view a 10-page summary document compiled by graduate students Bernadette Vega, Andrew Reed, and Valerie Flatley in 2013 celebrating our fifth anniversary of the series. This in-depth analysis of the key themes that emerged from five years of lectures includes quotations, vignettes and our speakers' vision for the future of the field.

The Future of Philanthropy in Uncertain Times – A Bridge Over Troubled Waters?

This ongoing lecture series explores the role of philanthropy and promising approaches to navigate economic uncertainties and bring new forms of capital into the nonprofit sector. Recent book authors and field thought leaders are included among the speakers featured.

Past Speakers

  • Tonya Allen, President of the Skillman Foundation, discussed strategies in philanthropic leadership, coalition building, and use of capital, to better children's life prospects on March 29, 2017.
  • Jean Case, President and CEO of the Case Foundation, toured Pittsburgh and delivered an address about inclusive innovation on Pitt's campus on April 4, 2016.
  • Stephen Heintz, President of the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, discussed the role of philanthropy and civil society in social change and policymaking on March 16, 2016.
  • Chuck Harris, President of the Edna McConnell Clark Foundation, was joined by Tamar Bauer and Michele Ridge (Nurse-Family Partnership), Dan Cardinali (Communities in Schools), and Jon Martinez (MDRC), to deliver the second part of a two-event series on impact investing, titled "Nonprofit Capitalization: Taking the Plunge Together" on March 26, 2015.
  • Kim Dempsey, Deputy Director of the Social Investment Practice at the Kresge Foundation delivered a live lecture at the University Club. Christine Looney, Senior Program Investment Officer of the Ford Foundation, joined via teleconference to deliver the first part of a two-event series on impact investing, titled "Unpacking Impact Investing: What It Is and How It Can Fuel Social Innovation" on January 28, 2015.
  • Rip Rapson, President and CEO of The Kresge Foundation, presented "Diego Rivera, Public Pensions, and Detroit's Bankruptcy: What's Philanthropy Doing in the Middle?" on April 8, 2014.
  • Dr. Lucy Bernholz, Visiting Scholar at Stanford University's Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society, presented "Inventing Digital Civil Society" on March 5, 2014.
  • Josh Wright, executive director of ideas42, presented "Using a Greater Understanding of Scarcity to Combat Poverty" on January 30, 2014
  • Sterling Speirn, then President and CEO of the W.K.Kellogg Foundation, presented “The Future of Innovation and Innovating the Future: Philanthropic Opportunities in Uncertain Times” at the O’Hara Student Center on Thursday, March 28, 2013.
  • Avila Kilmurray, then President of the Community Foundation for Northern Ireland, presented "Philanthropy in Northern Ireland – Bridging Divides, Bringing Peace, Building Community" on November 13, 2012.
  • Peter Frumkin, Professor and Director of the RGK Center for Philanthropy and Community Service at the University of Texas, Austin. April 10, 2012
  • Sally Osberg, President and CEO of the Skoll Foundation. April 5, 2012.
  • Emmett Carson, President and CEO of the Silicon Valley Foundation. March 13, 2012.
  • Gara LaMarche, then president and CEO of Atlantic Philanthropies, delivered a lecture entitled “Health and Human Rights in the U.S. and South Africa: Two Arguments for Persistence,” stressing that the rewards gained by the citizens of both countries were due to the persistent demands of the people. April 18, 2011. View the video presentation, click here.
  • Margaret McKenna, then executive director of the Walmart Foundation, presented “Creating Opportunities So People Can Live Better.” She discussed the changes that have occurred in corporate philanthropy and how new tools are required to tackle tough social problems. January 27, 2011. View the video presentation, click here.
  • Leslie Crutchfeld, a leading authority on scaling social innovation and high-impact philanthropy discussed what six important behaviors were necessary for philanthropists to solve complex problems. December 1, 2010. View the video presentation, click here.
  • Paul Brest, president of the Hewlett Foundation, addressed how philanthropic strategy must enhance philanthropy’s impact in tackling some of the world’s most pressing problems. April 13, 2010.
  • Michael Dahl, general counsel, Pew Charitable Trusts, shared Pew’s transition from private foundation to pubic charity as a fulcrum for change. March 29, 2010. View the video presentation, click here.
  • Jacqueline Novogratz, founder of the Acumen Fund, presented how markets and equity-based ventures in developing countries can create life enhancing goods and services for the world’s poorest people, while expanding the role for philanthropy in the process. December 1, 2009. View the video presentation, click here.
  • Grant Oliphant, president and CEO of The Pittsburgh Foundation, delivered the keynote address for the series by examining approaches like Mission-Related Investing, Funder Collaboratives, and Web 2.0 tools to foster greater social and financial capital in times of economic distress.  April 15, 2009.
  • Sara Gould, then president and CEO of the Ms. Foundation for Women, discussed the implications of the economic stimulus and recovery activities for women and girls, and the role philanthropy may play in changing public policy. April 7, 2009.
  • Dr. Richard Gunderman, professor of radiology, pediatrics, philosophy and philanthropy at Indiana University’s Center on Philanthropy and author of We Make A Life by What We Give, addressed “Generosity: What’s at Stake?” January 27, 2009.

Newer Philanthropist Luncheon Series

In this occasional brown bag luncheon series, newer philanthropists share insights about their work, academic experience and career path.

  • Lunch with Newer Philanthropists, November 12, 2014 
  • Lunch with Newer Philanthropists, November 13, 2013
  • Lunch with Newer Philanthropists, April 6, 2011 
  • Lunch with Newer Philanthropists, April 19, 2010
  • Lunch with Four Young Philanthropists, April 3, 2009