Why teach philanthropy at universities

Why teach philanthropy at universities

News (International)

A philanthropist and leading US tax professional, Arnold McClellan, says that educating university students about philanthropy is beneficial to future business executives and charities.

Laura Arrillaga-Andreessen, a lecturer with Stanford University in Palo Alto, California teaches philanthropy education courses to her students, including many in Stanford’s School of Business. She now offers all of her syllabi and teaching notes, as well as several case studies, online for free in a project that she calls “Giving 2.0 Project U,” which she hopes will enable more schools to adopt effective philanthropy education courses for their students.

She says a philanthropist is any individual with time, money, or other resources to give to a worthy cause. Technology allows people greater opportunities to give their money and resources more effectively, she argues. For example, people can set up skills training through blogs or donate a few dollars a day to causes they support. However, she thinks philanthropists often give on emotional grounds rather than using logic. Philanthropy education helps people to make balanced decisions, donate wisely and have a greater impact. For example, philanthropists should see if charities have good plans and whether they also need skills as well as financial help.

McClellan agrees: “Fewer problems can be solved by simply throwing money at them than one might think. That money has to go somewhere and do something, and that means organisation. That means good planning and tangible goals and effective allocation of resources to best suit the needs at hand. A properly run charity can do more with $100 than a sloppy one can do with $1,000.”

Meanwhile in the UK, in addition to working with philanthropists and young people, the Pears Foundation is also targeting university students through its Business Schools Partnership programme. It aims to encourage deeper thinking among MBA students about the role of business in society.

The Pears Business Schools Partnership is a collaboration between London Business School, Cranfield School of Management and Saïd Business School at the University of Oxford to promote sustainable business in society by engaging and inspiring the next generation of leaders.

It does this through case studies on the positive contribution of business and lectures by leading business figures.

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