Why did you choose graduate school at IUPUI?
I chose Indiana University the second time because of the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy- the world’s first school of philanthropy. I completed my MA program at the school, and I know the school is unique, promising, and highly competitive. So, I returned for my PhD. IU Lilly Family School of Philanthropy provides an innovative, collaborative, and multidisciplinary approach to philanthropy. As a practitioner turned academic, I wanted a learning environment with depth and breadth for rigorous training, cutting-edge research, and practice; I believe the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy has these attributes.
What has been your favorite academic accomplishment since you’ve been here?
I have a few favorites: Firstly, as a researcher, I had the opportunity to attend ARNOVA (Association for Research on Nonprofit Organizations and Voluntary Action) -one of the biggest conferences on nonprofits and philanthropy - twice and presented my work and network with colleagues from all over the world. I received valuable feedback and exceptional perspectives on my work. I also continued to support the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) and co-presented a paper at the Toronto Congress in 2022.
Also, I authored a chapter on health for Giving USA 2023: The Annual Report on Philanthropy, supported two (2) distinguished professors of philanthropy (Drs. Ash Enrici and Sara Konrath), and worked at The Fund Raising School.
What do you enjoy most about life in Indianapolis?
Indianapolis is like home to me now. I spent 2 years during my MA between 2015 and 2017 in the city, and I have continued to enjoy the robust diversity and growth in the city. As a mom of 2, Indianapolis is great for family, and you can get a little bit of everything (small yet urban) in the city. I also belong to an African community that gives me a feel of my home country (Nigeria), as well as a decent proximity to my new country, Canada.
Please provide some details about your work/research as a graduate student and/or any activities you are involved in.
My minor is in Public Health-Social Behavioral Sciences, so I am primarily interested in the intersection of philanthropy and health equity. I want to explore the role of grantmaking foundations in reducing health disparities/inequities for racialized/marginalized groups. Fundamentally, I am looking at Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (JEDI) practices, power, and agency within foundations and the connection to equitable grantmaking.
My second interest is in African Philanthropy, its role in addressing public health emergencies, and its implication for global health governance.
Outside of academics, I volunteer for a local church parish in west side Indianapolis. I offer my fundraising/resource mobilization skills to attract community resources for program delivery within the neighborhood. For example, the US Marines Toys for Tots program for Christmas giveaway and the Gleaners Food Bank grocery program for community outreach/food pantry.
Nationally, I review applications for IREX Fulbright Teacher Exchanges and Mandela Washington Fellowship. Internationally, I sit on the board of the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) Canada.