For-profit

Milken Institute Center for Strategic Philanthropy

Parent Organization:

Milken Institute

Executive Director:

Melissa Stevens

The Milken Institute Center for Strategic Philanthropy is a left-of-center philanthropic consulting firms that advises foundations and individual major donors on giving strategy, specializing on issues of medical research, environmentalism, public health, and education. [1] The Center is a part of the Milken Institute, a left-of-center think tank that uses research to promote left-of-center policy in medicine, environmentalism, and education. [2]

The Milken Institute Center for Strategic Philanthropy board features members of some of the most prominent left-of-center foundations in the United States, including the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the Simons Foundation, and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. [3]

Background

The Milken Institute Center for Strategic Philanthropy advises individual givers and foundations on giving strategies in a number of left-of-center policy advocacy areas. The Center also provides training and resources for foundation leaders on effective giving. [4]

The Center claims to have influenced more than $1 billion in philanthropic funding directed towards biomedical innovation, portfolio building, education initiatives, environmentalist projects, and biodiversity. [5] The Center uses a data-driven approach to guide philanthropists in making donation decisions, often targeting donations towards left-of-center causes. [6]

Aside from philanthropic advising, the Center releases reports on philanthropy to guide strategy. In June of 2020, the Center released a report entitled, “Stepping off the Sidelines: The Unrealized Potential of Strategic Ultra-High Net-Worth Philanthropy.” The report claimed that 50% of people with a net worth of $5 million or more do not know if their charitable giving has any impact and contended that 78% of charitable donors don’t evaluate the effectiveness of their giving. [7]

Left-of-Center Giving Priorities

The Center for Strategic Philanthropy advises donors to target left-leaning causes. Even in the biomedical research space, the Center has advocated for “social impact” investments in mental health and research programs on the grounds that America’s health systems are “failing.” [8] Aside from mental health projects, the Center directs medical donations to brain diseases, rare and emerging diseases, and cancer. [9]

The Center frequently advises donations to left-of-center environmentalist projects, alleging that humans have engaged in “overuse and abuse” of the planet that is leading to “crisis levels” of climate change and public health. The Center has called on philanthropists to give to conservationist organizations, as well as organizations fighting climate change. [10] Outside of direct environmentalist projects, the Center has encouraged donations to left-of-center infrastructure development projects across the United States, including the development of more low-income housing projects and environmentalist energy programs. [11]

Leadership

Melissa Stevens is the executive director of the Milken Institute Center for Strategic Philanthropy. [12] Stevens was previously was the deputy executive director of FasterCures, another project of the Milken Institute that focuses on speeding up the medical research system. Before coming to the Institute, Stevens worked in the health sciences practice of PricewaterhouseCoopers, where she advised commercial and federal clients on healthcare issues. [13]

The Milken Institute Center for Strategic Philanthropy announced its first advisory board of 11 philanthropists in August 2020. These include noted left-of-center philanthropy leaders, such as Larry Kramer, CEO of the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation; Marilyn Simons, president of the Simons Foundation; and LaJune Montgomery Tabron, CEO of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. [14]

References

  1. Milken Institue Center for Strategic Philanthropy. LinkedIn. Accessed December 15, 2020. https://www.linkedin.com/showcase/milken-institute-center-for-strategic-philanthropy/ ^
  2. Press Release. “Milken Institute establishes inaugural advisory board for its Center for Strategic Philanthropy.” August 18, 2020. Accessed December 15, 2020. https://milkeninstitute.org/articles/milken-institute-establishes-inaugural-advisory-board-its-center-strategic-philanthropy ^
  3. Press Release. “Milken Institute establishes inaugural advisory board for its Center for Strategic Philanthropy.” August 18, 2020. Accessed December 15, 2020. https://milkeninstitute.org/articles/milken-institute-establishes-inaugural-advisory-board-its-center-strategic-philanthropy ^
  4. Press Release. “Milken Institute establishes inaugural advisory board for its Center for Strategic Philanthropy.” August 18, 2020. Accessed December 15, 2020. https://milkeninstitute.org/articles/milken-institute-establishes-inaugural-advisory-board-its-center-strategic-philanthropy ^
  5. Press Release. “Milken Institute establishes inaugural advisory board for its Center for Strategic Philanthropy.” August 18, 2020. Accessed December 15, 2020. https://milkeninstitute.org/articles/milken-institute-establishes-inaugural-advisory-board-its-center-strategic-philanthropy ^
  6. Biomedical Research Health. Tufts University. Accessed December 16, 2020. https://nutrition.tufts.edu/about/careers/milken-institute-associate-biomedical-research-health ^
  7. “New Report Examines Big-Gift Philanthropy — and Encourages the Wealthiest to Give More.” Chronicles of Philanthropy. Accessed December 16, 2020. https://www.philanthropy.com/article/new-report-examines-big-gift-philanthropy-and-encourages-the-wealthiest-to-give-more  New Report Examines Big-Gift Philanthropy — and Encourages the Wealthiest to Give More ^
  8. https://milkeninstitute.org/centers/center-for-strategic-philanthropy/giving-smarter-guides/COVID-19/philanthropic-action-mental-health ^
  9. Advancing Medical Solutions. Milken Institute. Accessed December 15, 2020. https://milkeninstitute.org/centers/center-for-strategic-philanthropy/advancing-medical-solutions ^
  10. https://milkeninstitute.org/centers/center-for-strategic-philanthropy/protecting-environmental-assets ^
  11. Protecting Environmental Assets. Milken Institute. Accessed December 15, 2020. https://milkeninstitute.org/centers/center-for-strategic-philanthropy/protecting-environmental-assets ^
  12. Press Release. “Milken Institute establishes inaugural advisory board for its Center for Strategic Philanthropy.” August 18, 2020. Accessed December 15, 2020. https://milkeninstitute.org/articles/milken-institute-establishes-inaugural-advisory-board-its-center-strategic-philanthropy ^
  13. Melissa Stevens. Skoll. Accessed December 16, 2020. https://skoll.org/contributor/melissa-stevens/ ^
  14. Press Release. “Milken Institute establishes inaugural advisory board for its Center for Strategic Philanthropy.” August 18, 2020. Accessed December 15, 2020. https://milkeninstitute.org/articles/milken-institute-establishes-inaugural-advisory-board-its-center-strategic-philanthropy ^
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