Community Philanthropy
W.K. Kellogg Community Philanthropy Chair
Dr. Michael Layton leads our research to explore how people come together to elevate generosity and community engagement.

Community foundations and donors play an essential and increasing, yet often unheralded, role in addressing social challenges and enhancing the quality of life in communities across the globe.

The W.K. Kellogg Community Philanthropy Chair, established at the Johnson Center in 2015, was the first endowed chair in community philanthropy in the country. The Chair partners with a network of community and public foundations, collective giving groups, and national and international communities to support, research, and lift up the practice of community philanthropy.

This Chair honors the philanthropic legacy and civic investment of W.K. Kellogg, founder of the Kellogg Company and W.K. Kellogg Foundation in Battle Creek, Michigan. The Kellogg Chair was established with a gift from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and the Kellogg Company 25-Year Employees’ Fund.

Since the creation of the first community foundation in 1914, community philanthropy has expanded conceptually and geographically. It is now one of the most important global movements to expand and elevate generosity, driven by the core belief that communities are uniquely positioned to mobilize their own assets to address their own challenges.”
Michael Layton, Ph.D.
W.K. Kellogg Chair
Leading the Center’s Work on Community Philanthropy
As the W.K. Kellogg Community Philanthropy Chair, Michael Layton brings to the position decades of experience in the practice and study of philanthropy. He has served as a professor, researcher, director, and consultant at some of the world’s most prominent universities, philanthropies, and development agencies.
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2023 U.S. Collective Giving Research Initiative

Dr. Michael Layton and Dr. Adriana Loson-Ceballos of Colmena-Consulting are leading a new partnership of the Johnson Center and Philanthropy Together to find and survey collective giving groups in the U.S. to better understand the impact of giving circles across race, gender, and sexual orientation identities.

Current Projects

2023 U.S. Collective Giving Research Initiative

Practiced in cultures all around the world, collective giving brings people together to pool their resources, including time, talent, treasure, testimony, and ties — often referred to as the 5 T’s. Groups like giving circles, SVP chapters, giving projects, and fundraising circles have long served as democratic and philanthropic learning hubs — bringing traditionally marginalized voices into philanthropic decision-making spaces, challenging preconceived notions of who is considered a philanthropist, and elevating members as integral actors in our sector’s efforts to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion in giving. Learn More.

Dr. Michael Layton is pursuing this research in partnership with Philanthropy Together and co-researcher Dr. Adriana Loson-Ceballos. Generous support for this project is provided by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation,  the Lodestar Foundation, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Family and Community Philanthropy in Mexico

In the past two decades, Latin America has seen important progress in the development of its philanthropic infrastructure — particularly in the use of institutions such as community foundations for channeling and growing local philanthropic engagement. Today, growing wealth concentration, the preponderance of family business ownership, and the nascent philanthropic culture combine to create a crucial moment in the philanthropic development of the region.

However, research on philanthropy in Latin America is relatively sparse and does not yet offer the guidance needed to understand these dynamics — such as promising trends in collaborative and place-based giving — and take advantage of this vital moment. Dr. Michael Layton and Dr. Michael Moody of the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy at Indiana University are collaborating on a project to explore the intersections of family and community philanthropy in Mexico — with the hopes of doing similar studies in other Latin American countries in the future.

This research is generously funded by the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation.

Explore More Community Philanthropy Resources

Inaugural W.K. Kellogg Community Philanthropy Chair

Jason Franklin served as the inaugural W.K. Kellogg Community Philanthropy Chair at the Johnson Center from 2015–2020. Learn more about Dr. Franklin's research, teaching, and thought leadership during his time at the Johnson Center.