Dr. Greg Witkowski Champions Courses in Experiential Philanthropy

Dr. Greg Witkowski, Senior Lecturer in Discipline for the Master of Science in Nonprofit Management program at Columbia University’s School of Professional Studies, spoke recently about teaching experiential philanthropy courses for a webinar organized by the Indiana Philanthropy Alliance.

Experiential philanthropy courses, which Dr. Witkowski has taught since 2006, enable students to collaborate and formally decide where to grant actual funds. “What you wind up doing is getting a two-for-one,” he says of funders that participate. “The money goes to the students, who get this wonderful experience” while “the local community also get the funds that ultimately they’ll need to address social concerns.”

Dr. Witkowski revealed some early findings from his research into student learning outcomes of experiential philanthropy courses that he’s conducted with Dr. Julie Hatcher, Executive Director for Center for Service and Learning and Associate Professor of Philanthropic Studies at the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, and Dr. Elijah Howe, Associate Director, Regional Development, at Indiana University Foundation. In a national survey of a dozen such courses, initial evaluation shows students reported that they learned to listen more to their colleagues, got a better understanding of what they value, and learned to better work in teams.

“We’re really quite optimistic about what some of this initial research shows about what students learn, not only about the nonprofit sector, but equally as important, about how to engage one another—really some of the civic virtues that are so important in our society,” concluded Dr. Witkowski.

Watch Dr. Witkowski’s portion of the webinar on YouTube and learn more about the Master of Science in Nonprofit Management program at Columbia University’s School of Professional Studies.