Berkeley-Haas and Philanthropy U Debut Free Online Initiative

UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business has announced its entry into a cooperative arrangement with Philanthropy U, which provides free online training to thousands of people and organizations working to achieve social good.

Photo: (L-R) Dean Rich Lyons; His Excellency Amr Al-Dabbagh, chairman and CEO of Al-Dabbagh Group and Philanthropy U founder; Prof. Laura Tyson, director of the Institute for Business & Social Impact; and UC Berkeley Chancellor Nicholas Dirks, at last week’s signing ceremony for the Philanthropy U/Berkeley-Haas collaboration.

Philanthropy U is a new, nonprofit entity that is the concept developer and sponsor of Philanthropy University.  More than 100,000 people globally have enrolled in less than three weeks for the initial seven courses.

According to the agreement with Philanthropy U, Berkeley-Haas will incubate Philanthropy University, a free educational non-degree granting initiative, with the first of seven non-credit/degree courses covering key skills such as fundraising, strategic planning, and scaling for impact will be offered, beginning at the end of the month.

Berkeley-Haas is playing a crucial role in the creation of Philanthropy University, which focuses on how to perform social sector work for measurable impact. Berkeley-Haas will also certify that students have met course requirements by awarding a statement of accomplishment and a certificate of completion in social sector leadership to those who complete all seven classes.

The Institute for Business & Social Impact (IBSI) and the Center for Social Sector Leadership (CSSL) at Berkeley-Haas will lead these efforts.

The Philanthropy University initiative was envisioned by His Excellency Amr Al-Dabbagh, chairman and CEO of Al-Dabbagh Group, a global business based in Saudi Arabia. He founded  Philanthropy U as part of the company’s giving activities.

In addition to Philanthropy University, three other strategic philanthropic efforts comprise the giving of the Al-Dabbagh Group, including Stars Foundation, a UK-registered charity supporting disadvantaged children around the world; the Philanthropreneurship Forum, an annual multi-sector gathering focused on the next generation of best practices in philanthropy; and Game Changing Initiatives, programs that align the Group’s companies’ community engagement activities with its philanthropic vision in a scalable, impactful, sustainable and game-changing nature.

“Imagine a workforce of social-change professionals who are primed, positioned, and skilled to impact the lives of millions of people and effectively change the world with their work. This is the vision of the Philanthropy University initiative,” Al-Dabbagh says.

Teaching will be team-based and focused on experiential learning, enabled by the social learning platform NovoEd, which is designed to promote vibrant online learning communities.

The goal is to reach and teach hundreds of thousands of NGO leaders, whose work will benefit 100 million people globally by 2020.

“The Philanthropy University initiative offers leaders in the social sector opportunities to strengthen their skills and grow their network of peers and mentors, ultimately increasing collaboration and efficiency and leading to a greater impact in the world,” says Professor Laura Tyson, IBSI director and chair of the Philanthropy University Advisory Committee. “Berkeley-Haas is proud to spearhead this new effort to achieve new levels of success in social impact.”

“The cooperation between Berkeley-Haas and Philanthropy U is a powerful, game-changing alliance for social impact,” says Ben Mangan, CSSL’s executive director. “We’re testing new ways to scale learning and collaboration and removing so many of the barriers that have kept people  worldwide from getting the tools they need to solve some of the world’s biggest problems”.

Berkeley-Haas will provide faculty to teach some courses, as well as source faculty from other top universities, and integrate the program with IBSI’s Global Social Venture Competition (GSVC).  Instructors include Shashi Buluswar, lecturer at Berkeley-Haas; Jessica Jackley, co-founder of; Erik Simanis of Cornell University and Paul Brest, dean emeritus, Stanford University and chair of Philanthropy University’s Curriculum Committee.

Starting in late 2016, all participants will have access to share their work online, using an open innovation platform, based on the concept of Berkeley-Haas professor Henry Chesbrough, PhD 97, named one of the Top 50 Thinkers in the world by global rankers at Thinkers 50.

Initial class offerings and start dates are:

Starting Sept 29:

Global Social Entrepreneurship

Essentials of Nonprofit Strategy

Organizational Capacity: Assessment to Action

Starting Oct 6:

How to Scale Social Impact

Leadership: 10 Rules for Impact and Meaning

Starting Oct 13:

Financial Modeling for the Social Sector
Fundraising: How to Connect with Donors
Learn more and register today at