Course Information

The Philanthropy Lab is a new way to study and practice philanthropy at UW-Madison. Students manage real money, and distribute real grants to Wisconsin nonprofits.

New to UW-Madison in fall 2016, The Philanthropy Lab is training a new generation of philanthropists through courses at 19 universities around the country, including Harvard, Stanford, Michigan and Virginia.

The Philanthropy Lab supports courses at each partner school, taught by faculty, as part of the schools' regular course offerings. At UW-Madison, the course is housed in the School of Human Ecology:

Fall 2016 course:

Civil Society and Community Studies 501: 
Philanthropy and Civic Engagement

Instructor: Cynthia Jasper

Each class receives up to $50,000 to distribute to nonprofit organizations following the class's evaluative process that involves research, comparison, site visits and debate. Funding can be expanded if the students and host university meet additional goals.

The primary goals of The Philanthropy Lab are to: spark and expand students’ interest and participation in philanthropy; increase the prevalence and priority of philanthropy education in U.S. colleges and universities; and become self-sustaining at our partner schools, allowing the Philanthropy Lab to have the funds to expand the program to other universities.

Since 2011, over $5.2 million has been given through The Philanthropy Lab, with over 1,700 students participating.


The Philanthropy Lab at UW-Madison is a proud partnership between the Morgridge Center for Public Service, the School of Human Ecology and the UW Foundation.