Learning by Giving Celebrates 15 Years of Inspiring the Next Generation of Philanthropic Leaders

August 27, 2018

This year, the Learning by Giving Foundation officially celebrates its 15th anniversary!  What started as a small idea between Ken Menkhaus, Chair of the Political Science Department at Davidson College, and Doris Buffett has since turned into a national movement.

Today, more than  4,200 college students have taken a Learning by Giving (LxG) course. Together, they have directed over $2.6 million to 676 community-based nonprofits around the country. With each semester that passes, they are changing the face of philanthropy and better connecting humanity.

Fifteen years is a great moment not only to look back and celebrate where we have been, but also to reflect on the vision and values that drive our movement. Leaning on Robert Payton’s definition of philanthropy (“voluntary action for the public good”), LxG believes that everyone has something to give and the title of philanthropist should be claimed by all of those passionate about making social change. We aim to harness the time, talent, and treasure of our country’s next generation of leaders to make communities stronger around the country.


  • Diversifying the voices of those at the decision-making table on the allocation of resources to help ensure the most dynamic and effective learning process possible;
  • Donating our own time, talent, and treasure to people with more need than we currently have, and to the organizations that serve them;
  • Working to influence those who do have an abundance of time, talent, and/or treasure to share their resources with others;
  • Choosing to volunteer and/or make a living through building and managing systems of giving for the good of others;
  • Developing and following a personal code of ethics that will ensure that our lives are a benefit to society; and
  • Living a self-reflective life that understands and examines the impact of our needs and actions on others.

In short, the ultimate goal of LxG is to foster a culture of philanthropy that permeates every layer of society through the education and engagement of diverse, emerging leaders while encouraging ethical values and actions in every interaction.

In honor of our 15th anniversary, we have a new look, a new scholarship, and a new high school pilot program.  We also will launch a number of new initiatives over the next year to increase the connection between the LxG platform, our students, faculty, alumni, and all of you – starting first with the launch of this blog!  For those of you in the Boston area, we hope to connect with you at our first-ever, one-day takeover of Fenway Park on December 1, 2018.

Thank you for being a part of our community.  Without you, we would simply be just a set of values that sit on a piece of paper. Our students, faculty, donors, and nonprofit partners are what make the LxG dreams come to life.  I look forward to working together more closely in the coming year and welcome your thoughts on our new work, as well as the impact that LxG may have had on you.  Please don’t hesitate to reach out to me directly at amy@learningbygivingfoundation.org.

Together we can change philanthropy and connect humanity.

Amy Kingman
Executive Director