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Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society

 The Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society is committed to strengthening civil society through education, research, and leadership training.
An integral part of The Graduate Center (GC), the Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society (Center) focuses on giving, volunteerism, and nonprofit entrepreneurship by individual donors, foundations, and corporations in the United States and around the world.

The Center works to link academic approaches with practitioner needs.  Under the leadership of director Kathleen D. McCarthy, its signature International Fellows Program for scholar-practitioners presently counts over 218 alumni from 66 countries across 6 continents. The program’s alumni have gone on to found new associations and foundations, create university courses and research centers, establish fellowships in philanthropy, and staff and lead many of the institutions and programs spearheading the globalization of modern philanthropy. Program alumni present and publish widely in the field of civil society, helping to create a literature on the field in their own languages. 

Other Center projects include:
  • multidisciplinary seminars on civil society for CUNY faculty and advanced graduate students
  • global research and edited volumes on women and philanthropy
  • multi-volume series to help integrate philanthropy as a topic in college and univeristy curricula and to enhance nonprofit professionals' knowledge in the areas of development and fundraising.
The Center supports GC students via research/travel awards and William Randolph Hearst Graduate Assistantships intended for women and minority students working in philanthropy, civil society, international development and global studies.

New Report!


Sustaining Civil Society: Lessons from Five Pooled Funds in Eastern Europe
Barry Gaberman, Merrill Sovner, and William Moody

After 1990, US and European foundations and government agencies invested in a series of Partnerships and Trusts to support civil society in Central and Eastern Europe, the Baltics, the Balkans and the Black Sea regions. Analyzing the long-term impact of these investments is crucial, especially as many politicians across these regions increase their anti-civil society rhetoric. Three long-time US foundation staff look back at the legacy and impact of this funding and derive a series of lessons for practitioners seeking to understand how best to sustain civil societies for the long term.  Abstract    Executive summary and full report (Coming soon!)