Funder Education Program

Funder Education Program

September 23 - 27, 2019 — Philadelphia, PA

The Center for High Impact Philanthropy Funder Education Program is designed for grantmakers, foundation trustees, foundation executive directors/CEO’s and other philanthropic leaders who are eager to create more social impact with their giving. This highly-rated course is based on ten years of pioneering work to help funders and grantmakers worldwide achieve greater social impact. Participants will learn the tools and strategies needed to apply the principles of high impact philanthropy to their own efforts.

For more information about onsite trainings and custom engagements, please contact Mariah Casias at

Program Agenda

Our field is exploding with new affinity groups, advocacy groups, peer and external assessment organizations, regional and international associations, and older organizations rebranded for changing times. This session will unpack this increasingly crowded space and inscrutable acronyms. Learn how you can identify like-minded funders and the latest best practices around your own funding interests.

Doing the right thing when you have power and money is harder than it seems. This session will help you to anticipate the ethical pitfalls that emerge in grantmaking and consider how following best practices and applying the “conscious use of self” can help you avoid them. This session will dive into case studies that explore conflict of interest, compensation, board composition, funder behavior, the implications behind the power of grantmakers, equitability and social justice.

The American legal system sets significantly different rules for nonprofit organizations and private foundations. What are your grantees’ responsibilities, and what are yours? For private foundations, the penalties for violating the law can jeopardize the existence of your foundation and put board members at risk. Moreover, laws regarding NGO registration and accountability in other countries vary widely. Expenditure responsibility applies for domestic and international grantmaking but the 501(c) 3 designation can streamline the process, What does this mean for your philanthropy?

Who doesn’t want to generate ‘high impact’? But what does ‘high impact’ really mean? How can you, as a grantmaker or funder, incorporate the tenets of high impact philanthropy into your own philanthropy? This session builds on the Center’s 10 years of applied research and work with individual, foundation, and corporate funders seeking to achieve greater social impact from their giving. We’ll dispel common myths about social impact, provide the Center’s working definition of high impact philanthropy, and explore how innovation and advocacy can fit into a high impact philanthropic portfolio. Then, through a series of cases and paired/small group exercises, participants will explore the core aspects of high impact philanthropy, applying these principles to their own grantmaking.

Every funder needs a strategy for their grantmaking activities. This session will start with a discussion of the considerations that go into establishing a foundation’s culture, mission, and focus. Then cover the classic grantmaking approaches and analysis and delve into alternative models of funding, including start-ups and innovation, multi-sector grants, advocacy and more.

Program evaluation is a powerful tool for gaining insight into needs, improving programs, and demonstrating impact. But, in order to reap these benefits, you need to know what you want and how to get it from evaluation. What is the difference between monitoring and evaluation? Is establishing metrics the only way to get actionable data? When is the right time to start evaluating? This session of the course will equip you with a clear framework for making good decisions about how to use evaluation to support your philanthropic goals.

Good governance, to say nothing of US law, requires that every foundation have a board approved investment policy. To achieve maximum impact with those dollars, that policy should reflect the desired values and goals of what the foundation hopes to achieve with its grants. This session of the course will present how investment policies to achieve perpetuity have traditionally been set. It will also demonstrate how to establish an investment policy for spend-out, and how you can use various values screens and vehicles to more closely align the full scope of foundation assets. While this session will use a private foundation model as the basis of the discussion, the same principles apply for individuals, trusts, and many donor advised fund strategies as well.

Trustees, family members, and executive staff who are involved in philanthropy must establish policies – some mandated by the law, and others required for good governance. Because of the personal nature of much of philanthropy, there is particular value in proactively establishing policies regarding spending, compensation, conflict of interest, succession, board composition, , and more as early as possible. This course module will review those policies covered earlier in the week, add those that are legally mandated, and recommend processes for establishing them as painlessly and productively as possible.

Every grant has an end, even if it is to renew. This session of the course will help funders establish constructive guidelines for exit strategies for a variety of circumstances and will serve to complete the funding cycle process of the week.

Each course participant will be invited to present or propose a case challenge from their own work for class review and discussion. These can be presented anonymously if desired. These conversations will provide an opportunity for very personalized take-aways from the week’s curriculum.


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Registration & Application Information

To request admission, please compete the application form and our team will contact you regarding next steps.

We are expecting high demand for this session, but will be keeping the program small to allow program faculty to build an appropriate class and customize certain modules to address the goals and perspectives of admitted students. Therefore, late cancellations become very costly to the program. Executive education students who previously accepted their place in the program, but must cancel less than a month in advance may apply a portion of their registration fee to a future session.

We welcome multiple attendees from the same organization. Please contact our office at for available group rates.

Registration Rates



Early bird registration: $6,250
Penn Alumni registration: $5,250

Pricing includes all class sessions, course materials, and breakfast and lunch each day. Travel and lodging are the responsibility of the student.

Program Faculty

Our faculty are recognized thought leaders in the philanthropic and social impact sectors. Their diverse experiences and training integrate knowledge for real-world social change. See below for a list of faculty members that have participated in past sessions of this course.

Katherina M. ‘Kat’ Rosqueta is the founding executive director of the Center for High Impact Philanthropy, the only university-based center with a singular focus on philanthropy for social impact. She leads a multi-disciplinary team that builds practical knowledge on how philanthropy can do more good. As adjunct faculty at the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Social Policy & Practice (SP2), she serves as faculty director for a highly-rated course on social impact, the first of its kind open to graduate students of all 12 of Penn’s schools. She also leads a team of center directors, advisors, and key Penn faculty to teach and coach families, individual donors, and other philanthropic leaders on how to apply the principles of high impact philanthropy to their giving.

Carra Cote-Ackah is a senior fellow at the Center for High Impact Philanthropy, co-chair of the Surdna Foundation’s Investment Committee, and executive director of Community Stewardship for Vanguard.

As a senior fellow, she teaches in the Center’s executive education programs and serves as an advisor for work in impact investing, family philanthropy, environmental issues and other areas of expertise. She is on the research advisory board for Aligning Equity (working title), the Center’s joint initiative with Tara Health Foundation and Wharton Social Impact Initiative examining current gender lens investing opportunities in public equity. She was a co-author of the Center’s paper, Program-Related Investments: Is There a Bigger Opportunity for Mission Investing By Private Foundations? and has co-authored several Center reports on U.S. domestic issues.

Richard ‘Dick’ Henriques is a Senior Fellow at the Center for High Impact Philanthropy and Wharton Social Impact Initiative. In that role, he leads the Center’s work to develop practical guidance on how to deploy capital, alongside grants, to achieve philanthropic goals. He was the lead author of the Center’s paper, Program-Related Investments: Is There a Bigger Opportunity for Mission Investing By Private Foundations? and served on the research advisory board for Aligning Equity (working title), the Center’s joint initiative with Tara Health Foundation and Wharton Social Impact Initiative examining current gender lens investing opportunities in public equity. Prior to his appointment at Penn, Dick served as the CFO of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Chris Geczy has been on the Finance Faculty at Wharton since 1997 and is Academic Director of the Jacobs Levy Equity Management Center for Quantitative Financial Research. He is also Academic Director of the Wharton Wealth Management Initiative at Wharton Executive Education. He has a B.A. in economics from the University of Pennsylvania and a Ph.D. in finance and econometrics from the Graduate School of Business at the University of Chicago.

Dr. Geczy regularly teaches investment management and co-created the first full course on hedge funds at The Wharton School, the course Impact Investing, and a number of executive education courses.

Deborah Small is a professor of marketing and psychology at Wharton. Her research interfaces psychology and economics, examining fundamental processes that underlie human decision making.

Professor Small’s research has been published in top-tier academic journals across Psychology and Marketing. She serves as an Associate Editor for Journal of Marketing Research and is a member of several editorial boards.

At Wharton, Professor Small was voted “Iron Prof” in 2014.  She teaches consumer behavior and Marketing for Social Impact.

Richard Marker is faculty co-director for executive education programs at the Center for High Impact Philanthropy. Marker has been in the philanthropy world for many years: as CEO of a major foundation, a trustee of several others, and a speaker to foundations, wealth management firms, and philanthropy conferences in 39 countries.

In his work as a philanthropy advisor and co-principal of Wise Philanthropy™, Marker works with large and small foundations as well as individual philanthropists. His distinctive approach to funder strategy is now utilized by many in the field. He specializes in inter-generational issues and succession, aligning focus, policy, and funding priorities, and in working with boards on developing successful decision-making strategies. He also coined the term “philanthro-ethics” reflecting his expertise in ethics for the funder and grantmaking field.

Katherine (Kate) H. Hovde is a senior advisor in education issues for the Center for High Impact Philanthropy in the School of Social Policy & Practice at the University of Pennsylvania. She has particular expertise in education policy, program design, and evaluation, both in the U.S. and abroad. In her role at the Center, she serves as point person for a broad set of partnerships with education researchers, funders, and leading nonprofit organizations, and leads Center efforts to synthesize and communicate research and other evidence on effective models for donors seeking to improve student outcomes.

Mirele B. Goldsmith launched her evaluation practice in 1998, just as interest in evaluation began to skyrocket among funders.  She recognized that funders are the primary consumers of this service, yet few know enough about the choices involved to set appropriate expectations of evaluation.  This realization led to Mirele’s first course for funders about how to be informed consumers of evaluation services.  Since then she has taught at the Academy for Funder Education at New York University, the Milano School of New School University as well as at the MicroEdge Solutions Conferences, Institute for Philanthropy, and Grant Managers Network, among others.

Mirele helps donors and grantees to use the tools of evaluation to improve programs. With many years of experience in the trenches as a non-profit manager, she adapts the evaluation process to fit real-world time and resource limitations.  She is proud to be known as the “user-friendly” evaluator.

Donald W. Kramer is chair of the Nonprofit Law Group at the Philadelphia law firm of Montgomery, McCracken, Walker & Rhoads, LLP. Mr. Kramer has more than 40 years of experience dealing with the concerns of nonprofit organizations, not only as a lawyer, but also as a teacher, writer, publisher, and board member. Mr. Kramer is editor and publisher of Don Kramer’s Nonprofit Issues®, a national electronic newsletter of “Nonprofit Law You Need to Know” (, which he started at Montgomery, McCracken in 1989.

Ron Albahary is an instructor in the Center for High Impact Philanthropy’s executive educations programs and currently sits on the industry advisory board for Aligning Equity (working title), the Center’s joint initiative with Tara Health Foundation and Wharton Social Impact Initiative examining current gender lens investing opportunities in public equity. He is the Chief Investment Officer at Threshold Group, a multi-family office with a history of considering impact alongside financial investment. Ron ‘wakes up every morning with a passion for creating innovative investment solutions that protect investors from emotions that can drive their decision-making regarding their wealth and, in turn, can help maximize the chances of achieving their goals’. Ron also serves on the Threshold Group Executive Committee, which oversees company operations and strategy.