Michael D. Layton, Ph.D.

W.K. Kellogg Community Philanthropy Chair

It is only through cooperative planning, intelligent study, and group action — activities on the part of the entire community — that lasting results can be achieved.” –W.K. Kellogg

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
Wed January 18
As the frequency of natural disasters increases dramatically, philanthropic actors are rethinking how they engage over the long term to support community resilience, ecological health, and a justice-focused response.
Tue December 20
The overlapping challenges of a global pandemic and inchoate racial reckoning have provided an opportunity to redefine our conceptions of philanthropy.
Tue November 23
Increased wealth inequality, the astronomical growth of data, and a renewed attention to the realities of racial inequities are just some of the forces driving significant change within philanthropy’s ecosystem.