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Identifying and nurturing the community’s emerging philanthropic leaders is a key initiative of The Center for Family Philanthropy at Akron Community Foundation. The Institute for Emerging Philanthropists is an exclusive, biennial educational program designed to support, inspire and cultivate this developing group of donors.

Through the institute, participants are exposed to the critical needs of the community and taught innovative, evidence-based methods of practicing strategic philanthropy, while connecting with a network of highly motivated charitable professionals. This structured seven-session program (September – June) helps participants identify their personal philanthropic goals and develop plans for a lifelong commitment to improving our community.

Institute for Emerging Philanthropists Class of 2021-22

Institute for Emerging Philanthropists Grants

Course Content


Course content includes lectures, site visits and workshops focusing on:

  • Building a philanthropic plan
  • Values, identity and interests
  • Local and national philanthropy
  • Evaluating nonprofits – financially and beyond
  • Professional advisor collaboration – many ways to give
  • Strategic grantmaking

At the end of the educational program, students apply their newly developed philanthropic skills by recommending grants through the Institute for Emerging Philanthropists Fund of Akron Community Foundation, founded in 2019 by the institute’s inaugural class.

Students are required to make a fully tax-deductible gift of $2,500 for this grantmaking, which the foundation is proud to match to further the program’s funding impact. Grants awarded through the Institute for Emerging Philanthropists Fund are announced during the institute’s culminating graduation ceremony. Since its establishment, the fund has awarded $80,000 in grants to local nonprofit organizations.

Candidate Criteria

The Institute for Emerging Philanthropists is suited for individuals between the ages of 25-45 who have a strong desire to build their skills in strategic philanthropy. Ideally, candidates are already involved in significant giving through charitable entities such as private family foundations or donor-advised funds.

Upon receiving a nomination, prospective students of the institute will complete a class application. Selected students will be interviewed by a staff member of The Center for Family Philanthropy and a member of the institute’s selection committee to evaluate his or her interests and goals. The selection committee will then make final recommendations and nominees will be notified about their application status. Class size will be limited to no more than 15 students.

Emerging Philanthropists Alumni Network

Upon completion of the program, graduates of the Institute for Emerging Philanthropists are invited to join the Emerging Philanthropists Alumni Network for continued education and networking opportunities. In addition to ongoing philanthropic activities, this group also serves as the advisory committee of the Institute for Emerging Philanthropists Alumni Endowment Fund.


Benefits of being an Emerging Philanthropists Alumni Network member:

  • Access to a private member portal with alumni resources and tools
  • Alumni social networking through a private Facebook group
  • Invitation to the annual welcome reception and graduation ceremony for the Institute for Emerging Philanthropists
  • Emerging Philanthropists Alumni Network LinkedIn certification
Continued education
  • Access to ACF’s quarterly co-investment mailing
  • Learning opportunities to remain focused on philanthropic giving
Akron Community Foundation ambassador benefits
  • Special ACF event name badge
  • Invitation to the pre-event alumni reception at ACF’s annual meeting
Connection to the Institute for Emerging Philanthropists Alumni Endowment Fund
  • Opportunity to help build a legacy of giving through the Institute for Emerging Philanthropists Alumni Endowment Fund
  • Advance invitation to join the fund’s grantmaking committee and determine funding decisions
  • Ability to share the Institute for Emerging Philanthropists Alumni Endowment Fund unique giving URL,

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