Michael D. Layton, Ph.D.

W.K. Kellogg Community Philanthropy Chair

You either walk toward love or away from it with every breath you draw. Humility is the road to love. Humility, maybe, is love.” – Brian Doyle

Book Michael as a speaker.

Michael is available to speak on community philanthropy, the role of community foundations in the US and internationally, and the development of philanthropy in Mexico and Latin America.


Michael Dennis Layton joined the Johnson Center in September 2020 as the W.K. Kellogg Community Philanthropy Chair, the nation’s first endowed chair focused on community philanthropy.

Michael brings a wealth of experience to this role, including his work as a researcher, teacher, director, advocate, and consultant. He has worked closely with a mix of community philanthropy organizations throughout the Americas, and brings to his position a nuanced understanding of the unique challenges and capacities of community philanthropy to act as a catalyst in promoting community-led development and in strengthening the local context for philanthropy.

Michael began his career as the founder and director of the New Kensington Community Development Corporation, in the Philadelphia neighborhood where he was born and raised. He pursued his doctorate in order to better understand the history and core values of democracy in America. After teaching at Wesleyan and Yale Universities, he founded and directed the Philanthropy and Civil Society Project at the Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México (ITAM) in Mexico City, where he developed a groundbreaking research and advocacy program to understand and strengthen philanthropy and civil society.

Michael earned a master’s degree and a doctorate in political science from Duke University, holds a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from Haverford College, and is a proud graduate of Philadelphia’s Central High School.

Related Articles
Tue May 11
Philanthropy is globalizing — a dynamic process in which actors exchange ideas and practices and engage in shared learning to find forms of giving that are authentic for different cultural contexts.
Tue April 20
Michael Layton draws parallels between the Gilded Age and current challenges in philanthropy, and argues that giving circles offer valuable insights about how to democratize philanthropy.
Tue March 2
Forces including the global concentration of wealth and the marginalization of BIPOC communities are driving crucial conversations about the haves and have-nots.