Can Philanthropy Be Taught?

Lindsey McDougle, Danielle McDonald, Huafang Li, Whitney McIntyre Miller, Chengxin Xu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


In recent years, colleges and universities have begun investing significant resources into an innovative pedagogy known as experiential philanthropy. The pedagogy is considered to be a form of service-learning. It is defined as a learning approach that provides students with opportunities to study social problems and nonprofit organizations and then make decisions about investing funds in them. Experiential philanthropy is intended to integrate academic learning with community engagement by teaching students not only about the practice of philanthropy but also how to evaluate philanthropic responses to social issues. Despite this intent, there has been scant evidence demonstrating that this type of pedagogic instruction has quantifiable impacts on students’ learning or their personal development. Therefore, this study explores learning and development outcomes associated with experiential philanthropy and examines the efficacy of experiential philanthropy as a pedagogic strategy within higher education.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)330-351
Number of pages22
JournalNonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)


  • active learning
  • experiential philanthropy
  • philanthropy education
  • service-learning


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