Informed Philanthropy in Theory and Action

Thursday, February 02, 2023 at 12:00pm to 1:00pm

Can attend in person or via Zoom if off-campus for IAP, 8-199 and on Zoom for peole joining from beyond campus

Class now full - add your name to the interest form to receive information about future offerings of the class

This IAP class can be taken as a not-for-credit experiential learning opportunity by MIT students, alumni, and employees, or as an undergraduate 2-credit class.

Join the PKG Center to explore the potential and pitfalls of philanthropy as a mechanism for social change, culminating with the class granting $7000 to local community agencies!

Participants analyze the work of non-profits to address the challenges and opportunities facing MIT’s neighboring communities, with particular focus on community representation, equity, and social justice. We will especially consider organizations that emphasize work with historically marginalized communities. The class culminates with students making a group decision on how the Learning by Giving Foundation (which is partnering with the class) will disperse $7000 to local non-profits.

The class is designed to cultivate a sense of community, often over snacks and deliberative dialogue. Each session, we’ll learn and apply group decision making methods that will help in making the final funding allocations. Through class discussion and supporting materials, students examine the interaction between philanthropy and social change, including the role of philanthropists past and present in shaping social change. Subject can count toward the 9-unit discovery-focused credit limit for first-year students.

Tuesdays and Thursdays, noon-1:00pm in 8-199.

Intrigued? Use this form to express interest Class now full - add your name to the interest form to receive information about future offerings of the class

Student Testimonials:

“This class was a great complement to my other coursework in the sense that we were looking at human-focused issues and bringing emotion and heart into our work rather than just solving equations or writing programs. It brought me back to my community and reminded me why I wanted to come to MIT in the first place: to make a tangible impact on someone’s life. Unlike my other classes, I knew my work was going toward more than tests or essays — I felt I, along with my classmates and instructors, was working toward a real positive difference in my community.

“This class provided a great opportunity to give away [real money] in a thoughtful way. It really embodied ‘mens et manus’ as we learned about different forms of philanthropy and how to go about selecting and evaluating organizations and decision processes. It was a very collaborative and social experience as we worked as a team to make our decisions, learning by doing.”

Read more student testimonials in our recent blog post!

Event Type

Conferences/Seminars/Lectures, Career Development

Events By Interest

Academic, Health/Wellness, Career Development, Diversity/Inclusion, Entrepreneurship, General, Climate & Sustainability

Events By Audience

Students, Alumni, Faculty, Staff


Priscilla King Gray Public Service Center (PKG Center)
Contact Email

Add to my calendar