Why does the nonprofit sector exist? Which is more ethical: supporting homeless families versus animals? Is there a shared understanding of “civil society” across the globe? In general, what is “philanthropy”?

This course helps you understand what philanthropy is through three course components. 1) Theories of nonprofit and philanthropy provide foundational knowledge about why nonprofit organizations exist and their relations with business and government sectors. 2) Through fieldwork and essay, you will analyze three cases of philanthropy. 3) The dialogue with practitioners will invite nonprofits to present in class and discussion their work. At the end of the course, you will be able  to:

  • Understand and explain what philanthropy is.
  • Understand the ethics and values supporting philanthropy, and apply these values to moral decisions.
  • Know the challenges and opportunities to contemporary nonprofits.
  • Have an international perspective towards the development and roles of nonprofit and philanthropic organizations.

Pedagogically, this course shares three principles: 1) open education, all course contents created by the instructor and students are open to the public under a non-commercial license, moreover, we will use social media platforms to promote this course and students’ works (e.g., blog posts and presentations) to maximize the use of course contents; 2) flipped classroom, students will lead research activities in and outside of the classroom following instructor’s learning guide; 3) lifelong learning, current and past students, even students outside of the class, can always share their recent works on this course website.

Image Credits: Christian University Library, Vera Wilde, Social Innovation Lab and Harvard University.