Executive Leaders in Philanthropy

The Executive Leaders in Philanthropy program was a three-week experience that blends skills-based sessions, case-based teaching, interactive visits to US philanthropic institutions, and thematic sessions. Skill-building sessions focused on leadership, negotiation, stakeholder analysis, media relations, executing a mission, data analysis, impact investing, and leading organizational change. Cases included Google.org, a stakeholder analysis case, a simulation on negotiation, and several other topics. Thematic sessions highlighted new ways of understanding globalization, talent development, ethics in the Chinese tradition, US politics, and more. The participants also interacted with leading US and Chinese philanthropists. In 2017 the group enjoyed a long dialogue with Zhang Xin and Pan Shiyi, the founders of Soho China – a couple who shared a Chinese perspective on giving and serve as a natural bridge between these worlds.

Part of the program featured a visit to Washington DC, which offers an unparalleled opportunity to learn about US politics, governance, and interactions with the leadership of national institutions in philanthropy and conservation. Conservation International, the Council on Foundations, the Newseum, the National Archives Museum, the Natural History Museum, and a full day set of discussions and breakout-groups with National Geographic on the topic of media, images, and the natural world are often the highlights. Cultural events such as classical music concerts at the Boston Symphony Orchestra and a visit to the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum informed participant understanding of philanthropic sustainability. Participants also shared their own challenges and plans for their organizations with the faculty and with one another. Groups formed each week and discuss different challenges each organization faces, then report out to the class. We followed the program with 3 month, 6 month, and annual check-ins with our alumni, designed and executed together with our partner, the China Global Philanthropy Institute.