Statewide philanthropy organization launches leadership training program

The Indiana Philanthropy Alliance is launching a program—named after the man who helped found the organization—that is designed to foster new and diverse philanthropic leaders.

The John M. Mutz Philanthropic Leadership Institute is designed to build the pipeline of talent in philanthropy so the sector will have strong leaders for years to come.

The yearlong cohort-style class is geared toward a variety of individuals, including foundation professionals, family foundation members, not-for-profit employees, not-for-profit or foundation board members, business leaders managing corporate social responsibility initiatives, philanthropists or anyone with a desire to improve their understanding and knowledge of philanthropy.

Claudia Cummings, president and CEO of IPA, said the idea for the program came out of a listening tour she did to meet with community foundation leaders across the state last year.

“The field is aging,” Cummings said. “There’s a need to refresh the bench.”

She said John Mutz, 84, who served as president of the Lilly Endowment Inc. from 1989 to 1993 and as lieutenant governor under Gov. Robert Orr, immediately came to mind when the organization started talking about starting the philanthropic leadership program.

“He said he was honored, but in true John Mutz fashion, he immediately got to work,” Cummings said. “He is still 100% in the game…. He knows everyone and has so much experience to share with us.”

Mutz is credited with organizing the first statewide gathering of philanthropic leaders and implementing the Giving Indiana Funds for Tomorrow, or GIFT, program at the Lilly Endowment, which helped establish community foundations in all of the state’s 92 counties.

IPA, in part, was created to help administer the GIFT program and support the community foundations.

Mutz said he was interested in being involved in the leadership program because he believes philanthropy is necessary for a democracy, so he wants to see the field thrive in Indiana.

“The more talent we can bring to the philanthropic sector, the more successful it’s going to be,” Mutz said. “That’s the first thing. The second thing is that in many of the smaller communities in Indiana, there aren’t a lot of established philanthropic leaders.”

Cummings said participants will learn different ways to view the world and how to approach various issues and how to become more effective community leaders.

The goal is to also attract more diversity to the industry.

“I think the struggle in Indiana is when you get out of the major urban cities, we become more and more homogeneous,” Cummings said. “It’s difficult no matter how hard our members want to diversify their staff and their boards, sometimes the numbers are just so difficult to cut through.”

The Lumina Foundation provided a $30,000 grant to help launch the class.

“I think that the long-term work here of philanthropy is going to require a constant refreshing of people and ideas, and one way to do that is through a program like what IPA has developed here,” Jamie Merisotis, president and CEO of Lumina Foundation, said.

Holly Davis, vice president of external relations for the IPA, will lead the class. Davis has previously led the Richard G. Lugar Excellence in Public Service Series and the Indiana Leadership Forum.

“She’s been highly successful in the world of leadership programs,” Cummings said.

Mutz said he will help with the class however he can.

“I hope it develops a whole core of highly motivated and responsible leaders who will take the philanthropic movement to a new level in Indiana,” Mutz said.

The first class, which will meet monthly starting in January, will have 18-24 participants.

Applications for the program are due Oct. 30.

Please enable JavaScript to view this content.

Story Continues Below

Editor's note: You can comment on IBJ stories by signing in to your IBJ account. If you have not registered, please sign up for a free account now. Please note our updated comment policy that will govern how comments are moderated.

{{ articles_remaining }}
Free {{ article_text }} Remaining
{{ articles_remaining }}
Free {{ article_text }} Remaining Article limit resets in {{ count_down }} days.