Both philanthropy and the public good often get a pass because we assume they are intrinsically positive. Indeed, philanthropists get mileage out of the common assumption that they contribute their money to advance a collective idealized notion of the public good. Yet, we also know that debates about what is the good, who is our neighbor, and what is good for the public has lasted for centuries. While deeply ethical and religious questions, the professionalization of philanthropy and public policy have framed the bounds of the public good more through the bureaucratization of giving and development than to ethical foundation on which such actions are based and can be evaluated. Questions of ethical and religious foundation and evaluation are rooted in the humanities and made empirical with the benefit of social science.


photo of david kingDavid King; Lake Institute on Faith and Giving; Philanthropy; IUPUI;



photo of raymond haberski jrRaymond Haberski Jr.; History/American Studies; Liberal Arts; IUPUI;




Upcoming Events



Boundaries of Philanthropy

Michael Moody; Frey Foundation Chair for Family Philanthropy at the Dorothy A. Johnson Center for Philanthropy at Grand Valley State University

Wednesday May 15th 12:00-1:30 PM

Location TBD



Philanthropy in History and Action

Ajay K. Mehrotra, Professor of Law at the Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law


Thursday April 18th 12:00-1:30 PM

IUPUI Campus, University Hall, Room 5023

Mehrotra will speak on questions of taxation, charitable giving, and the best way to support the development of the public good.  

Please RSVP to David King ( so reading materials can be provided and lunch ordered.



Introduction to seminar and definition of terms


Thursday March 21st 12:00-1:30 PM

IUPUI Campus, University Library, Ashby Browsing Room

Please RSVP to David King ( so reading materials can be provided (Bruce Sievers’ article, “Philanthropy’s Role in Liberal Democracy,” ).  Lunch will be served.



Upcoming Fall Topics

  • Philanthropy and the City
  • Social Justic and Philanthropy
  • Future of Philanthropy