Nielsen Chair in Philanthropy

In 2000, the Center received a $3.5 million challenge grant from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation to establish the Waldemar A. Nielsen Chair in Philanthropy. The Chair honors Waldemar A. Nielsen, a former Rhodes scholar and foreign affairs writer for The New Yorker and Harper’s. Nielsen was involved in the design and implementation of the Marshall Plan, served on the staff of the Ford Foundation, and later led the African American Institute. He is perhaps most well known for his pioneering study of philanthropy that resulted in The Big Foundations (1972) and The Golden Doors (1985). His central contribution as a historian and critic of the field was to call philanthropy, especially private foundations, to a higher level of accountability.

The Nielsen Chair Endowment supports an annual visiting practitioner or scholar at the Center who contributes to the Georgetown community as a professor, researcher and thought-leader on the critical issues facing the field of philanthropy. Current and past chairs are:

The Endowment also supports a Nielsen Fellow who works with the Nielsen Chair in Philanthropy. The Fellows are chosen from McCourt School of Public Policy graduate students and provides ongoing research support in the areas of public policy, philanthropy, and nonprofit leadership.

  • Sade Cole (MPP 2024) – Nielsen Fellow 2023-2024
  • Anne Katz (MPP 2024) – Nielsen Fellow 2022-2023
  • Constanza Alarcón Cordón (MPP 2021) – Nielsen Fellow 2020-2021
  • Emma Farber (MPP 2021) – Nielsen Fellow 2019-2020
  • Erica Turner (MPP 2020) – Nielsen Fellow 2018-2019
  • Edward Weizenegger (MPP 2018) – Nielsen Fellow 2017-2018
  • Beatrice Leydier (MPP 2017) – Nielsen Fellow 2016-2017
  • Stephanie Keller, MPP 2015
  • Althea Arnold, MPP 2011
  • Lauren Marra, MPP 2010
  • Sonya Behnke, MPP 2008
  • Pilar Oberwetter, MPP 2008
  • Catherine O’Connor, MPP 2007
  • Andy Ho, MPP & MBA 2006
  • Amanda Horwitz, MPP 2006