Effective Philanthropy Learning Initiative

What We Do

The Effective Philanthropy Learning Initiative (EPLI) at Stanford PACS conducts research, develops resources, and teaches to help donors become more effective, strategic philanthropists. We are an interdisciplinary team working at the intersection of philanthropy, the behavioral sciences, and design thinking to accelerate learning for donors and others in the donor-support ecosystem. 

Why Effective Philanthropy?

Hundreds of billions of dollars are dedicated to philanthropy each year, but is it making the greatest impact? EPLI seeks to understand the challenges which high-capacity donors face in giving effectively and designs resources and educational programs to encourage more intentional, outcome-focused giving. 

Introduction to:
Effective Philanthropy

We believe that there are five core principles to Effective Philanthropy:

  1. Focused
  2. Thoughtful
  3. Long-term
  4. Beginner’s Mindset
  5. Trusting

A practical guide for donors that covers all aspects of being a philanthropist and how the nonprofit sector works (Digital version available now, print version available for purchase). 

Access the Guide

Purchase Print Copy

A step-by-step resource designed to help donors, their families, and their advisors explore and implement an effective, inspired philanthropic plan (Digital version available now, print version available for purchase).


Access the Toolkit

Purchase Print Copy

Explore the donor support ecosystem. Find additional organizations and services to assist you on your philanthropic journey. 


Access the Directory

I am a Donor

Work through hands-on activities on your own, with your family, or your advisor to build your philanthropic strategy and create your personalized philanthropy planner with our Philanthropy Toolkit.  

 Explore donor support groups and giving circles to join. Check out the Philanthropist Resource Directory.  

Watch our online courses and learn about our donor education workshops. 

Attend our events 

Recommended resource: 

For DIY emerging donors, read our comprehensive, practicalThe Stanford PACS Guide to Effective Philanthropy

I Support Donors

Start your learning journey today. Browse various education modules on how to practice strategic philanthropy.  

Familiarize yourself with donor support groups to recommend to your clients with the Philanthropist Resource Directory. 

If your organization offers direct support to donors, consider adding an entry in our Philanthropist Resource Directory 

Read our latest research articles on donor behavior and philanthropic trends.  

Learn about our donor education workshops and other educational services

Attend our events.  

Recommended resource: 

Are you an advisor to donors and their families? Use our The Stanford PACS Philanthropy Toolkit to spark meaningful conversations and guide your clients through a philanthropic planning process.  

Education for Philanthropy Professionals

EPLI has developed a virtual, executive-style learning program delivered through six half-day sessions over three weeks. The program is for philanthropic professionals in a leading role within a family foundation or family office, who are in a unique position to guide their principal and execute on their vision for changing the world. Apply now!

Education & Engagement Opportunities

EPLI offers in-person trainings, workshops,
and educational opportunities for donors and other philanthropy
professionals. Read more about our past events facilitating strategic
philanthropy practices, and how you might start
your your learning journey.

The Latest from EPLI


Education for Philanthropy Professionals Course

The EPLI team is excited to announce that it will...

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Perpetual launches Australian Philanthropy Toolkit with Stanford

Perpetual Private has launched an Australian Philanthropy Toolkit (the Toolkit)...

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Call for High-Earning Individuals to Participate in Research

A team of researchers at the Stanford Center on Philanthropy...

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[Webinar] Findings on Giving Vehicle Use Among Bay Area Donors

Presentation Slides: Full report here [Past] Event Info Join the...

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Donor Advised Funds Webinar – Most Frequently Asked Questions

By Paul Brest and Erinn Andrews, Effective Philanthropy Learning Initiative,...

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[Webinar] Donor Advised Funds and Their Critics

 Presentation Slides: [Past] Event info: Do donor advised funds...

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Bay Area Millennial Giving: Current Trends, Challenges, & Opportunities (May 2020)

This report examines how millennial donors, specifically those with significant...

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