Dr. Susan PhillipsBy Dr. Susan Phillips.

How would Canada benefit from a school of philanthropy? I suggest three primary ways.

Visibility, Credibility & Legitimacy

First, a school would bring visibility and credibility to the philanthropic and nonprofit sector – a sector that lacks public awareness and struggles to be taken seriously in public policy. As any successful nonprofit professional knows, management and leadership within the sector are not the same as in business or government. Instead, nonprofit professionals address a distinctive set of challenges and require a unique set of knowledge and skills. Through graduate education tailored to this sector, we can produce leaders who are better prepared to excel. A school would also create greater legitimacy within academia for the study of the sector, thereby expanding the provision and use of such research, as well as increase the demand for it (Weber & Brunt, 2022).

Mobilizer, Multiplier & Academic Entrepreneurs

Second, a school would be a mobilizer and multiplier to build capacity within this field of study and education. Faculty not only attract and educate undergraduate and master’s students, but also mentor doctoral students and post-doctoral fellows. These in turn go into research and leadership positions, whether in the sector or in other universities, government departments, financial institutions, and consulting firms. A corpus of faculty serving as ‘academic entrepreneurs’ can leverage new resources through research grants, Mitacs collaborations, and philanthropic contributions. They produce research relevant to the sector and to public policy, supervise student experiential learning, and build partnerships with sector organizations. None of this is possible with instructors hired on a temporary contract basis or with project-based funding. It takes a critical mass of permanent positions.

Effectiveness & Impact

Read the next installment of this series: "Education & Research Infrastructure for the Nonprofit & Philanthropic Sector: Canada as Laggard."

Read the next installment of this series: “Education & Research Infrastructure for the Nonprofit & Philanthropic Sector: Canada as Laggard.”

And third, the ultimate benefit of a school would be to enhance the effectiveness and impact of charities, nonprofit and foundations, provide evidence for more informed public policies, and contribute to a more vibrant culture of giving and volunteering.

The need is there. But how do we create a school of philanthropy for Canada? We build on success. We build on the MPNL program. And we partner with individuals, foundations and corporations who recognize and value the work of philanthropy and nonprofits, and who join us in seeking to make that work even better.

Dr. Susan Phillips is on LinkedIn. Banner photo is courtesy of Max Larochelle.

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Friday, December 15, 2023 in ,
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