A Research Chair

The ESSEC Philanthropy Chair is a Research Chair dedicated to understanding philanthropy and enhancing its impact. Philanthropy can be defined as all forms of private funding for public purposes, especially donations from individuals, companies, and foundations. It represents a growing source of funding for nonprofit and public organizations, and its influence is on the rise in most countries around the world. The Chair is interested in new ways of funding social innovation, such as impact investing and crowdfunding. Through academic research, dissemination and training, the Chair combines academic rigor and practical relevance to produce and disseminate new knowledge on philanthropy, mainly in France and in Europe. In particular, the Chair aims at:

  • Developing knowledge on European philanthropy(ies)' specificities

  • Helping philanthropic actors to improve the way they take management issues into account (strategy, governance, asset management)

  • Building up philanthropic actors' capacities in assessing their actions' impact

  • Offering quality teaching material on philanthropy (courses at ESSEC, executive education, teaching cases)

A European focus

Most of the resources, knowledge, and data on philanthropy come from the United States. Philanthropy is strongly linked to the American civil society's history and dynamism. However, other philanthropic traditions and practices exist all around the world, including in Europe.

European philanthropy remains misunderstood, especially from a research standpoint. Yet several research programmes and centres have opened in the last few years within various universities and business schools: the Center for Philanthropic Studies (University of Amsterdam), Centre for Social Investment (University of Heidelberg), Centre for Charitable Giving & Philanthropy (5 UK universities), Centre for Philanthropy Studies (University of Basel), Chaire Baillet Latour Social Investment & Philanthropy (Université de Liège)...

ESSEC is part of this dynamic since the Chair's creation in 2011. It has joined a network of scholars in Europe network created in 2008: The European Research Network on Philanthropy (ERNOP). When hosting its 7th conference in july 2015, the ESSEC Philanthropy Chair confirmed its ambition of being a leader in the European academic community working on philanthropy.