Emmett Carson Appointed To Lilly School Chair

Emmett D. Carson, Ph.D., CEO and president of Silicon Valley Community Foundation (SVCF) and nationally recognized philanthropy leader, was selected as the first person to serve in the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation Chair on Community Foundations at the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy.

He’ll be a visiting holder for the new chair, which is dedicated to understanding and strengthening community foundations, according to school officials. Carson will continue to serve as CEO and president of SVCF during his appointment.

“Emmett Carson is one of the most visionary and highly regarded thought leaders in philanthropy today,” said Gene Tempel, founding dean of the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy. “We are fortunate that he has agreed to serve as a visiting scholar in this new role, enabling us to begin the important work of the chair while we conduct a search for a full-time chair holder.”

“Under Dr. Carson’s leadership, Silicon Valley Community Foundation is breaking new ground and exploring a host of new and innovative models for what it means to be a community foundation,” Tempel said. “This is a tremendous opportunity for our students and our community to learn from his expertise and consider a range of perspectives on the future of the community foundation field.”

The faculty chair, which was unveiled earlier this year, commemorates the 100th anniversary of community foundations in the United States. Through teaching, research and public service, its holders will contribute significantly to understanding and enhancing the important work of community foundations. This fall the school will begin a search for the first full-time chair holder, who is expected to begin serving in the position in fall 2015.

Carson led an unprecedented merger of two of the world’s largest community foundations to form SVCF, which has over $4.7 billion under management. It is both the largest grant maker to Bay Area nonprofits and the largest international grant maker among U.S. community foundations. Carson previously was CEO of The Minneapolis Foundation and prior to that oversaw the Ford Foundation’s U.S. and global grant making program on philanthropy and the nonprofit sector.

“Community foundations have a vital role in addressing problems facing their local communities, and they can foster charitable giving across the globe as well. I can’t think of a better place to teach students the value of these services than the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy. I am deeply honored to be the first person to serve in this important role,” Carson said.

As the visiting chair holder, Carson will serve as a public scholar. He will visit Indianapolis several times in the upcoming academic year, during which he will give public lectures, guest lecture in the school’s academic classes, develop a syllabus on community foundations and philanthropy, mentor students, conduct research to increase knowledge about community foundations, and engage with local community foundation and nonprofit leaders.

“The Mott Foundation’s goal in supporting this chair was to create a base of leadership, intellect and talent to guide the community foundation field through its next hundred years and beyond,” said Neal Hegarty, vice president of programs for the Foundation. “Dr. Carson’s selection as the first person to hold the chair really sets the bar for the kind of vision and expertise the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy can bring to the field.”

Carson delivered the keynote address at the school’s inauguration in 2013, is a frequent speaker at its annual national symposium and is an adjunct member of its Philanthropic Studies faculty. He formerly served on the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University’s Board of Governors and received an honorary doctorate from Indiana University in 2007.

Carson is a noted authority on issues of social justice, public accountability and African American giving. He is consistently recognized as one of the most influential nonprofit leaders in the U.S. In addition to Indiana University, he has honorary degrees from Morehouse College and The National Hispanic University. He received both his master’s and Ph.D. degrees in public and international affairs from Princeton University and his bachelor’s degree in economics, Phi Beta Kappa, from Morehouse College.