Stanford PACS Education for Philanthropy Professionals

Join us this FALL!


The Effective Philanthropy Learning Initiative (EPLI) at the Stanford Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society (PACS) offers a 6-day executive-style learning program for philanthropy professionals. The program is taught by experienced Stanford faculty and staff and includes several notable guest speakers with expertise in philanthropic scholarship and practice. Cohort sizes are limited to ensure in-depth learning and effective networking with peers.


This course is ideal for senior executives, program officers and trustees at small to mid-size family foundations, or individuals managing charitable giving within a family office. Emerging philanthropists, wealth managers, philanthropic advisors, and philanthropy consultants have also found the course to be highly valuable and are invited to apply.

Fall 2024 DATES

In person

October 16-18, on Stanford campus
Enjoy learning and networking with peer leaders in person on the beautiful Stanford University campus.


October 22-24, online

Continue your learning with engaging speakers and virtual workshops.


Certificate of Effective Philanthropy awarded upon completion of six-day course.


Prospective participants should complete the application found here which will ask them to respond to open-ended questions, and confirm their availability and commitment to the program. 


$7,500 – Breakfast and lunch included during in-person sessions. Travel and lodging are not included.

Early Bird Rate: $6500 if application is accepted by August 1st, 2024.

Group rate – Contact Ruth Selby at, if multiple participants from your organization would like to attend.


Application deadline: September 1st, 2024


Questions? Contact:
Ruth Selby, Program and Education Manager, 

“The Stanford PACS program was incredible and is by far the most treasured educational experience I’ve had in connection with my work in philanthropy. It was extremely comprehensive in scope but efficient, with no wasted topics or moments. I found the staff, instructors, and guest lecturers to be particularly engaging and expert, and I left much more aware of the philanthropic water we all swim in. The program gave me concrete skills and tactics to use in my work, and I loved the diverse group of high performing philanthropists I met as fellow participants.”

“Professionals who are new to the philanthropic sector, transitioning from other fields, or have years of experience in this space, will find this course tremendously valuable.”

“I found the EPP curriculum compelling and comprehensive, covering everything from systems and strategy to the history of philanthropy and contemporary trends. The cohort included an impressive international group and the participants’ varied and unique perspectives helped to reinforce course materials and make for robust discussions. I would highly recommend the EPP course to any philanthropy professionals interested in an executive style learning program.”

What The Course Will Cover

– Donors’ values and focus areas for giving
– Social problems, their causes, and strategies for solutions
– Historical and societal contexts of philanthropy
– Contemporary trends in philanthropic practice
– Relationship-, community-, and trust-building
– Strategies for governance and managing family dynamics
– Governance and vehicles for structuring gifts
– Causes such as racial justice, democratic institutions, and global giving

Past Speakers (May 2024)

Dimple Abichandani National Center for Family Philanthropy (NCFP); Trust Based Philanthropy Project

Melissa A. Berman Founding CEO (Emerita) of Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, Inc.

Lydia Bransten– Executive Director, The Gubbio Project

Paul Brest– Professor, Stanford Law School, former president of the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, and co-author of “Money Well Spent: A Strategic Guide to Smart Philanthropy”

Ashley Blanchard– Philanthropy Practice Leader, Lansberg Gersick & Associates (LGA), NCFP Chair

Erin Duddy Director of Programming, Center for Sustainable Finance and Private Wealth (CSP)

Heather Hernandez Gatty Vice President of Client Services, Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors

Sara Lomelin– CEO, Philanthropy Together

Katherine Lorenz President of the Cynthia and George Mitchell Foundation and leader of the NextGen Giving Pledge

Sam Mar Senior Advisor, Arnold Ventures

Micah McElroyAssociate Director of Research, Effective Philanthropy Learning Initiative 

Vera MichalchikDirector, Philanthropy Research and Education, Effective Philanthropy Learning Initiative; Senior Research Scholar, Stanford PACS 

Falko PaetzoldManaging Director, Center for Sustainable Finance and Private Wealth (CSP)

Erin RogersCo-Director, the Hive Fund for Climate and Gender Justice, formerly Climate Program Officer at the Hewlett Foundation

Robert Ross President and Chief Executive Officer for The California Endowment 

Magdalena Aninat Sahli Founder of the Center on Philanthropy and Social Investments at Universidad Adolfo Ibáñez, author of “Guide for Effective Philanthropy in Latin America (Stanford PACS, CEFIS)

Emma Saunders-HastingsProfessor, The Ohio State University and author of “Private Virtues, Public Vices: Philanthropy and Democratic Equality”

Ben Soskis Senior Research Associate,
Center on Nonprofits and Philanthropy
, Urban Institute

Sushma Raman– President & CEO, Heising-Simons Foundation

Nick TedescoPresident, National Center for Family Philanthropy (NCFP)

Erin Weingartner President & CEO, The Overbrook Foundation

Irene WongAdvisory Board, Open Impact,

formerly of Packard and eBay Foundations

Policies and Procedures (FAQ)

Application and Eligibility: 

The application form is designed to assure a fit between participants and program offerings, with priority given to professionals who best meet the program’s criteria for who should attend (see section above). Accepted applicants will receive notification by Sept 5th, 2024.

Be sure to observe time zone differences when considering your availability to fully participate in all sessions of the program.   

Acceptance and Registration: 

Once accepted, you will be asked to register for the course and be provided further information regarding program fees.  

Program Fees 

The program fees include tuition, course materials, and additional resources.  Breakfast and lunch will be provided during the in-person sessions. Travel and lodging are not included.

If your background is highly relevant but the cost of participation poses a significant barrier, we would like to hear from you

Please note that program specifics, particularly regarding faculty and session topics, are subject to change.    

Payment Procedure 

Upon acceptance, payment details including an invoice and online payment link will be sent by email. Full payment of the invoice will confirm your enrollment and secure your reservation. Payment will be accepted by bank wire transfer, or credit card (American Express, MasterCard, Visa, and Discover).  

Certificate of completion: 

At the end of the program, participants will receive a certificate of completion. The program does not offer an accredited degree from Stanford University, and at this time, does not qualify for continuing education credits.  

Cancellation Policy: 

We anticipate circumstances and availability issues arise unexpectedly for prospective participants.    

If you wish to cancel and receive a full refund, you must submit your request in writing at least 20 days prior to the program start date. If you submit your request within 19 days of the program start date, you are not eligible to receive a refund. Cancellation requests are valid only upon Stanford PACS confirming receipt of your request.  

Should you have any further questions, please email Ruth Selby at .

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