Effective Philanthropy Learning Initiative

Our Mission

The Effective Philanthropy Learning Initiative (EPLI) at Stanford PACS conducts research, develops resources, and delivers educational programs to help donors worldwide become more effective, catalytic philanthropists. We are an interdisciplinary team working at the intersection of philanthropy, the social sciences, and design thinking to accelerate learning for donors and professionals in the donor support and advising ecosystem—so they can make informed and deliberate giving decisions to increase their impact.

What is Effective Philanthropy?

EPLI defines effective philanthropy as:

  • grounded in respectful and trusting relationships
  • strategic, well-informed, and thoughtful
  • focused on clear ultimate goals
  • long-sighted and realistic about interim results
  • oriented to learning and adaptation.

Our Programs


We believe that society is better when donors, and the professionals who support them, deploy their resources thoughtfully. To that end, EPLI conducts research to understand the nuances of philanthropic practice and improve its outcomes. We use interdisciplinary methods to understand what motivates giving, what new ideas are influencing philanthropy, and how donors create change. Our research findings improve our educational programs and materials, and we widely share them for the public’s benefit as well. 

EPLI endeavors to educate as many philanthropy practitioners worldwide concerning effective practices. Our learning experiences are designed to meet the wide-ranging and continually evolving needs of the sector. Programs include:

  • signature executive education courses, which include instruction from Stanford scholars and leaders in the field;
  • interactive workshops for wealth advisors; 
  • an introductory online course, LearnEP, for those just getting started;
  • bespoke custom engagements that center the specific needs of an organization;
  • effective philanthropy publications and tools.

We are committed to making our knowledge and resources accessible to anyone, ensuring donors and their ecosystem of professionals make the biggest difference they can.

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