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Columbia UniversitySpring 2017Philanthropy and Social DifferenceDepartments: General StudiesVictoria Rosner, Rachel Adams18 students
Columbia UniversitySpring 2018Philanthropy and Social DifferenceDepartments: General Studies/EnglishVictoria Rosner, Rachel Adams17 students
Columbia UniversitySpring 2020Philanthropy and Social DifferenceDepartments: EnglishVictoria Rosnder20 students
Columbia UniversitySpring 2022Philanthropy and Social DifferenceDepartments: General Studies/EnglishVictoria Rosner18 students

Philanthropy and Social Difference
Taught by Victoria Rosner
Department of English & General Studies

Victoria Rosner is Dean of Academic Affairs at Columbia University School of General Studies and a faculty member in the Columbia University Department of English and Comparative Literature. Her scholarship focuses on modernist aesthetics across different forms of cultural production, as well as gender and the professions. Rosner is the author, most recently, of Machines for Living: Modernism and Domestic Life (Oxford University Press, 2020), as well as Modernism and the Architecture of Private Life (Columbia UP, 2005), winner of the Modernist Studies Association Book Prize. She is editor of the web-based archive Pioneering Women of American Architecture (with Mary McLeod) and two books, The Cambridge Companion to the Bloomsbury Group (Cambridge UP, 2014) and The Global and the Intimate: Feminism in Our Time (Columbia UP, 2012; with Geraldine Pratt). With Nancy K. Miller, she edits the Gender and Culture book series for Columbia University Press. She is also co-director of the Columbia faculty working group, “On the Frontlines: Nursing Leadership in Pandemics.”

Course is housed in the English department, so several interesting authors are discussed throughout the course including Jane Addams, Virginia Woolf, George Orwell

Students each write a 3-5 pg Philanthropic Autobiography

  • “Their story as the giver and a recipient of philanthropic gifts”
  • Experiences they’ve had, organizations that are important to them, model philanthropists, role of philanthropy in the future

Group service component

  • Class takes trips to local soup kitchen and serves meals to clients
  • Class spends one weekend afternoon at a fitness program for children with disabilities and works one-on-one with the athletes

Students write gift/declination letter to each org


Latest News

September 9, 2020

Philanthropy Students Learn the Power of Giving

September 9, 2020

The Gift of Giving

Student Testimonials

The most impactful thing about the Ambassadors Conference is the diversity in means of giving, places to give, and causes to impact. I have only ever given time and money to needs of which I have been confronted or, more or less, associated with people who are in those types of needs. Coming to this conference, though, and being around people from different areas of the country with different experiences, interests, goals, and creativity in finding the organizations other schools funded has proved a level of investigation necessary to discovering human needs outside of conventional ideas of assistance we are familiar with due to advertisements or popularity. There are people out there with needs that I otherwise may not have noticed or come across in my everyday life that I now realize and appreciate learning from the students at the conference.

Sean ColonColumbia University

"The Philanthropy course I took at Columbia University, in partnership with The Philanthropy Lab, was undoubtedly the most original, effective and impactful experience I've had with applied learning. The history and literature of philanthropy, combined with resources and research turned a small room of students into a large force of change-makers. Years out, I continue to reference this experience as a guiding light along my own philanthropic journey, and have the Philanthropy Lab to thank. A true and honest gift that keeps on giving."

Shelby Elsbree

My experience in this course was enlightening and empowering. I learned how a team effort can build a vehicle that serves as an opportunity for an organization to grow. Since then, I have increased my practice of philanthropy by volunteering my time with JAIA YOUth Empowerment as well as initiating fundraising efforts.

Albert P. Antomattei

I've definitely learned a lot about philanthropy and the decisions that are made through this class. However, I think it might have impacted my view somewhat negatively. This class helped confirm to me how important money is to social causes, but how sometimes even charitable sources can be uneffective or mismanaged. I've definitely learned a lot more about investigating the root cause of an issue as well as the organizations that say they will help that cause.

Mack Collins

This course has straightened my drive to support new initiatives that are formed by people who have persevered in-spite of their circumstances to start an organization to help people with similar issues. In my 8th year as the founder of a not-for-profit program that I founded with more ambition than capital, this philanthropy course allowed me, someone who desperately needs foundation support, to fill the role of the funder and think from their vantage point. In addition, this course has reshaped my understanding of economics in America as well as fundraising for the sake of doing good in the world, by showing me my individual capacity to be a philanthropist at any economic status.

Isaac Scott