The School of Philanthropy
Lake Institute on Faith & Giving

About Lake Institute

Lake Institute was created from the legacy gift of Tom and Marjorie Lake, their daughter Karen Lake Buttrey and the Lilly Endowment, Inc. Lake Institute exists to honor the philanthropic values of the Lake family and blesses the community with a space for public inquiry and hands on training in the service and study of faith and generosity.

Lake Institute exists to explore the relationship between faith and giving in various religious traditions. We honor the philanthropic values of the Lake family through strategic priorities that continually examine how faith inspires and informs giving. Through years of intentional community building, we have nurtured an environment for public inquiry and crafted hands on training that assists faith communities and donors in the pursuit of their philanthropic passions.

Studying, teaching and understanding the religious motivations for giving allows for more effective fundraising and outreach across the nonprofit sector.

Lake Institute offers programs and customized training focused on faith-based giving across all religions such as:

  • Thomas H. Lake Lecture
  • Lake Distinguished Visitor Program
  • Creating Congregational Cultures of Generosity
  • Executive Certificate in Religious Fundraising
  • Spiritual Values and Philanthropic Discernment
  • Faith and Fundraising

Furthermore, through its programs, Lake Institute helps participants comprehend how philanthropy coincides with the practice of faith and spirituality by acknowledging the religious dimensions of their giving. This understanding helps participants find a more fulfilling approach to their philanthropy.

Our Mission

The mission of Lake Institute on Faith & Giving is to foster a greater understanding of the ways in which faith both inspires and informs giving by providing knowledge, education, and training.

Lake Institute encourages people of all religious orientations and spiritual practices to become more thoughtful in their philanthropic efforts. By creating a neutral environment for religious and philanthropic practitioners, scholars, and the public at large, the Institute helps people to engage in reflection and conversation about the role of religion’s ultimate taboo topic—money.

Pairing on-the-ground knowledge of religious traditions with the School’s up-to-date research and scholarship from across the country, the Institute translates statistics into practical tools and strategies for use by faith communities.

Throughout centuries, faith has been a powerful component of philanthropic generosity. The Lilly Family School of Philanthropy has opened the doors to this concept by offering related teachings through Lake Institute on Faith & Giving, since its inception in 2002. 

Learn more about the story behind Lake Institute