Philanthropy, Nonprofits, and Social Innovation at USC Price


The USC Sol Price School of Public Policy is a key driver of advances in philanthropy, nonprofits, and social innovation. For more than 20 years, the school has served as a leader in action-driven, empirical research in these areas, producing impactful scholarship while preparing innovative thinkers who have become executives at major foundations and nonprofit organizations.

With two major research centers – one dedicated to philanthropy and nonprofit organizations, and another to social innovation – and academic programs at the undergraduate, graduate, and executive levels, USC Price serves as a prominent educator and robust resource for these fields.

Left photo: The USC Sol Price Center for Social Innovation welcomed Harvard Professor Robert Putnam, who discussed the growing inequality gap described in his book “Our Kids: The American Dream in Crisis.” Right photo: USC Price Professor James Ferris delivers a keynote address to the U.S. House of Representatives Philanthropy Caucus at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C., covering the evolution of place-based efforts in philanthropy and government to alleviate geographically concentrated poverty.


With the growing awareness that intractable societal problems are best addressed at the intersection of the public, private, and nonprofit sectors, the importance of philanthropic, nonprofit, and social innovation enterprises has reached an unprecedented level. The philanthropic sector has expanded nearly 25 percent over the past decade, significantly outpacing the rest of the nation’s economy. These entities represent powerful catalysts for positive change, serving as laboratories where innovative approaches are developed and tested. Many nonprofits also serve as vehicles by which government spending is deployed for the public good.


At the same time, such organizations can be administered by people with widely varying levels of professionalism and training to meet the unique leadership challenges – ranging from service delivery to advocacy and from community building to social change.

To meet these challenges, the USC Sol Price School of Public Policy launched a Master of Nonprofit Leadership and Management degree, building on its existing research strengths in philanthropy, nonprofits, and social innovation and educational programs at the undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral levels, along with its preeminent connections to leaders in these fields.