PACS news/January 11, 2023

Stanford Researchers Seeking to Interview Donors Who Shift Power in their Philanthropy

Philanthropy has long been considered a force for social change. But today a growing number of voices, not for the first time in history, question whether philanthropy is suited to creating the more equal and inclusive society that it envisions. They insist that donors should shift both their wealth and their decision-making power to the communities that donors intend to benefit. The Stanford PACS Effective Philanthropy Learning Initiative seeks to interview donors who share wealth and decision-making authority with communities, organizations, or activists to participate in a new research study.

Our project explores the motives, practices, and challenges of donors who yield control over their philanthropy to the people and communities they wish to support. The project engages with these practices from a historical perspective, seeking to understand how donors today relate to people who have adopted similar approaches in the past. We hope that our research will benefit power-shifters and non-power-shifters alike, as well as the organizations, advisors, and nonprofit leaders with whom they work.

We are seeking to recruit approximately 40 individuals to participate in an hour-long, one-on-one interview with one of our researchers to be conducted via video or phone.

To qualify, you must dedicate a significant (roughly 40% or more) share of your annual giving to shifting authority to the communities that you wish to support. And either (1) give away a minimum of 10% of your assets or 10% of your income annually OR (2) have already committed 50% or more of your present wealth to charity.

To participate, please contact Micah McElroy, Associate Director of Research, at

This research is approved by the Stanford University Institutional Review Board (IRB). All data will be presented so that no individuals will be identifiable from the results that we share. Participants will be able to access the final research findings.

Stanford Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society (PACS) is an interdisciplinary research center for students, scholars and practitioners and focuses on exploring and sharing ideas that create social change. (

Applications now closed.