Strategic Philanthropy Initiative


The SPI brings together economists and political scientists, social thinkers and NextGen philanthropists, policymakers, and NYUAD students to think about the betterment of our communities through strategic philanthropy. The partnerships built through the SPI will advance the study, reach, and effectiveness of strategic philanthropy in the UAE, the wider region, and the world and drive collective action for change on the most pressing social and environmental issues.

Mariët Westermann, Vice Chancellor

The Strategic Philanthropy Initiative (SPI) is developing an academic, convening (bringing people together to share experiences and ideas), and community-based platform to help shape, support, and champion vigorous, collaborative, and strategic practices of philanthropy in the UAE and across the GCC and broader Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region.

The SPI is designed to be a resource for all philanthropists in the region. Recognizing the different needs and access points of experienced philanthropists, next-generation philanthropists, grant recipients, students, and members of the public interested in the study and practice of philanthropy, the SPI is using three tracks of research, education, and convening to guide its work in its initial years.  

SPI Tracks and Priorities

    • Developing capacity, capabilities, and a visible platform around the academic study and active practice of strategic philanthropy
    • Conducting, funding, and publishing academic and contract research that encourages interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary research on philanthropy
    • Strengthening data gathering and research on strategic philanthropy as a global practice, with a focus on evaluating the success of philanthropic interventions specific to the MENA region
    • Promoting the development of policies that can shape more effective philanthropy in the UAE and the MENA region by addressing data gaps, fostering transparency and accountability, and encouraging a secure and enabling regulatory environment for the philanthropic sector

Highlights from Our Events and Programs

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