The Sillerman Center for the Advancement of Philanthropy

Past Events


Brandeis University Women's Soccer Team GiveBack 2021

On April 23, 2021, The Sillerman Center, in partnership with Sow Good Now, the Brandeis Women’s Soccer Team, and the Waltham Boys and Girls Club, sponsored a soccer clinic and GiveBack in Waltham, MA. Through this partnership, and under the leadership of Sow Good Now, the Brandeis Women’s Soccer Team and Waltham Boys & Girls Club will work together over the next four years to make a series of grants to local nonprofit organizations. The 2021 grant recipient was Lawyers for Civil Rights.


Disability Rights are Civil Rights: A Conversation on Inclusive Democracy

On October 8, 2020, the Lurie Institute for Disability Policy and the Sillerman Center for the Advancement of Philanthropy hosted "Disability Rights Are Civil Rights: A Conversation on Inclusive Democracy." Our speakers, Sandy Ho of the Lurie Institute, Claribel Vidal of the Ford Foundation, Rebecca Cokley of the Center for American Progress, and Claribel Vidal of the Ford Foundation, discussed methods to support the civic participation of people with disabilities. By bolstering civic engagement among people with disabilities, we can support both seasoned and emerging leaders in the disability community, improve policy and practice affecting people with disabilities, and continue moving toward a more equitable society. This conversation drew from a recent publication from Lurie, Sillerman, and Ford.

recording of the event is available in English and in Spanish.

Social Justice Giving Circles

On October 6th, 13th, and 20th of 2020, the Sillerman Center hosted a series of Social Justice Giving Circles for Heller faculty, staff and students. Collectively, Circle members made $15,000 in grants to local nonprofit organizations.The Faculty Giving Circle gave a $5,000 grant to Massachusetts Communities Action Network, the Student Giving Circle gave a $5,000 grant to Community Change Inc., and the Staff Giving Circle gave a $5,000 grant to Boston Area Gleaners. Congratulations to all giving circle participants and grant recipients!


University Based Philanthropy Centers Gathering

The Ford Foundation Center for Social Justice
320 East 43rd Street, New York City

On August 16, 2019, we partnered with United Philanthropy Forum to host a gathering of 15 university-based philanthropy serving organizations from across the United States. We learned about each other’s ongoing and future work and identified areas for collaboration as we explored the most pressing challenges facing philanthropy today. 

Fun and Frustration of Nonprofit Work with Vu Le

On April 9, 2019, the Sillerman Center hosted nonprofit leader, social justice trainer, social critic and writer, Vu Le, who delivers pointed, courageous observations of the nonprofit and philanthropic sectors — with a sense of humor. In his talk at Heller, Vu explored tensions between the two sectors and offered insights about how funders and nonprofits can build respectful, powerful relationships in service of social justice. Vu's talk was followed by a discussion facilitated by Alex McCray, Senior Director of Programs at Philanthropy Massachusetts.

Additional information on Vu Le's nonprofit Rainier Valley Corps, his blog NonprofitAF, and his recent book Unicorns Unite.


  • Decolonizing Wealth with Edgar Villanueva: A book talk on Edgar Villanueva's groundbreaking book, "Decolonizing Wealth."
  • Bridging Vermont's Opportunity Gap: An Immigrant Integration Learning Session for Funders and Community Leaders
  • Wilhemina's War: A Film Screening and Panel Discussion


  • 2017 Northeast Youth Philanthropy Gathering
  • A Struggle We Must Win: Advancing School Integration Through Activism, Youth Voice, and Policy Reform
  • K-12 School Integration. Building a Future-Facing Vision, Strategy and System of Support


  • Truth, Racial Healing and Transformation (TRHT) Summit
  • 2016 Northeast Youth Philanthropy Gathering
  • Community-Engaged Grantmaking: Putting Immigrant Integration into Practice
  • Holding Ground: The Rebirth of Dudley Street - A film screening and panel discussion
  • Presentation: "Striking at the Root: Social Justice Philanthropy for the 21st Century" given at the Youth Philanthropy Connect International Conference
  • Strategies for a Changing Northern New England: A Funders Briefing
  • Book Talk: "The Prize: Who's in Charge of America's Schools?"
  • Investment and Spending Policies Seminar
  • The Business Case for Social Impact


  • Massachusetts Youth Philanthropy Summit