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In recent years, colleges and universities have begun investing significant resources into an innovative pedagogy known as experiential philanthropy. The pedagogy is considered to be a form of service-learning. It is defined as a learning approach that provides students with opportunities to study social problems and nonprofit organizations and then make decisions about investing funds in them. Experiential philanthropy is intended to integrate academic learning with community engagement by teaching students not only about the practice of philanthropy but also how to evaluate philanthropic responses to social issues. Despite this intent, there has been scant evidence demonstrating that this type of pedagogic instruction has quantifiable impacts on students' learning or their personal development. Therefore, this study explores learning and development outcomes associated with experiential philanthropy, and examines the efficacy of experiential philanthropy as a pedagogic strategy within higher education. Essentially, we seek to answer the question: Can philanthropy be taught?


This is a pre-copy-editing, author-produced PDF of an article accepted for publication in Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, online before print, in 2016 following peer review. The definitive publisher-authenticated version is available online at DOI: 10.1177/0899764016662355

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