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Institute on Philanthropy

The Institute on Philanthropy (IOP) strengthens the community by educating nonprofit professionals, volunteers, donors and community leaders in ethical and effective fundraising, marketing and board development strategies. We design our classes to meet the needs of a variety of nonprofit audiences. Our institutes serve participating nonprofits from Central Virginia and around the nation.

IOP offers coursework and week-long certification institutes in several areas for nonprofit staff, managers and board members.

Special Opportunities

IOP offers periodical workshops and coursework. In response to the coronavirus pandemic, we are offering the following workshops:

Nonprofits: Growth Mindset Workshop

Tuesday, August 18, 2020, 10 a.m.–12 p.m., synchronous (live) online

A growth mindset is the fuel that ignites learning and growth. Understanding what it is, why it matters, and how to activate it can help you become more relevant and resilient, particularly in times of uncertainty and change. This workshop explores the importance of getting started, embracing the process of failing forward, using setbacks as motivation and developing curiosity and courage.

Nonprofits and the Pandemic: A Special Workshop Session

Tuesday & Wednesday, October 6-7, 9 a.m.–12 p.m., synchronous (live) online

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the course of nearly all aspects of our lives, but nonprofits have been especially hard hit, from operations to fundraising, even affecting their value propositions. In a special workshop, senior IOP instructors will guide participants through a workshop designed to help nonprofits pivot and adapt during these difficult times. Instructors Katie Gilstrap and Dean Browell have worked with hundreds of nonprofits over their 10+ years of teaching at IOP and also teach and mentor nonprofits, entrepreneurs, and for-profits internationally.

Certification Institutes

IOP’s primary nonprofit education and training method is through week-long certification institutes led by nonprofit leaders in the Richmond region. Week-long training institutes are held on the University of Richmond campus with discounted lodging available at area hotels.

Our institutes provide training in all aspects of nonprofit operations, from fundraising and development to grantwriting and management. The intensive institute format encourages participants to work while they learn, engaging institute leaders and participants to address specific issues they face in their nonprofit organizations.

Nonprofit Leadership Lab

The Nonprofit Leadership Lab provides nonprofit leaders a confidential, facilitated discussion environment for discussing and addressing challenges facing their nonprofit organizations. Through these discussions, nonprofit leaders can network while brainstorming ideas using the common language of nonprofit leaders.

Our programs offer career-enhancing skills and information on cutting edge topics and new trends. More importantly, our programs offer return on your investment with program deliverables, among which are development campaigns, marketing plans and more.

Pandemic-Related Update

We’re working with our instructional teams to develop remote and online learning opportunities while safer-at-home recommendations remain in effect. As a result, programs are tentatively scheduled and will open for registration as plans are finalized for each institute. Review each institute page for specifics.

International Student Information

If you are an international student considering coursework through the Institute on Philanthropy, you need an F-1 student visa. Information is available from the Office of International Education—follow the guidelines for Summer School Students.

Manual for Starting a Nonprofit

Starting a Nonprofit: What You Need to Know. In the spring of 2005, the students in the Law of Nonprofit Organizations class at the University of Richmond created a manual on how to start a nonprofit organization. One of the goals in creating the manual was to make it available to individuals interested in starting nonprofits or in learning about the legal issues relating to nonprofit organizations. It is their hope that this manual will assist individuals in establishing nonprofit organizations to address important societal needs and in operating those organizations most effectively.

The class professors were Ann C. Hodges, Professor of Law and Phyllis C. Katz, Adjunct Professor of Law. The manual was written by the students whose names are set forth at the beginning of the full document and edited by two of the students, Kristi Cahoon (former Institute on Philanthropy student) and Rebecca Adams.

National Credentials

The University of Richmond Institute on Philanthropy is an approved coursework provider for the following national credentialing agencies.

CFRE International

CFRE logo

Approved Provider for Continuing Education—Full participation in IOP courses is applicable for points in Category 1.B - Education of the CFRE International application for initial certification and/or recertification based on the number of contact hours listed for each class.


A limited number of scholarships are available to cover class expenses. Complete the Scholarship Application.

Institute on Philanthropy Advisory Board (2020-21)

The Institute on Philanthropy (IOP) Advisory Board provides invaluable feedback, direction and leadership for the Institute. Members serve renewable three-year terms as advisors to help guide the Institute and address the most urgent strategic issue facing IOP each year.

IOP Advisory Board members are chosen because they are thought leaders in their fields representing a diverse knowledge base. Each brings different expertise to the table. Members are nominated and selected based on this criteria.

Dean Browell
Executive Vice President, Feedback Agency

L. Lee Byrd
Attorney, Sands Anderson

Heidi Crapol
Director, VCU Center for Urban Communities

Angela Cusack
CEO/Managing Princial, Igniting-Success

Ruth Modlin Ellett, CFRE
Modlin Ellett Associates

Cheryl Groce-Wright
Executive Director, Neighborhood Resource Center of Greater Fulton

Jaraad Hines
Executive Director, HineSight

Reshunda L. Mahone, CFRE
Vice President, Institutional Advancement, Virginia State University

Thomas Millisor, CFRE
Director of Business Services, UNOS

Danielle L. Ripperton, CFRE
Director of Development, Peter Paul Development Center

Laurie Rogers
Independent Grant Writer

David Thomason
Vice President, Advancement, Special Olympics Virginia

IOP logo

Institute on Philanthropy
Professional & Continuing Studies
Special Programs Building
490 Westhampton Way
Univ. of Richmond, VA 23173

Mary Catherine Raymond
Senior Program Manager
Phone: (804) 289-8133

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IOP Impact on Local Nonprofits

Institute Group Photos
Fund Development Institute - Summer 2019
Grant Writing Institute - 2019
Fund Development Institute - Winter 2019