Laws and regulations are often the focus of conversations about what might promote or inhibit charitable giving. However, social norms and narratives can be just as powerful—or more powerful—drivers of prosocial behavior and can shape charitable giving in fundamental ways. Join the Urban Institute for a broad-ranging discussion about the norms and narratives surrounding charitable giving and generosity. Drawing on new research from the Urban Institute, MIT Media Lab, and the University of Southern California Norman Lear Center, we will explore how charitable and philanthropic giving is presented in social media, movies, and film; how different approaches to teaching the practice of charity, in both household and school settings, have developed in recent years; how campaigns promoting other types of prosocial behavior might inform those seeking to increase charitable giving; and whether distinct norms and narratives govern the giving of elites and mass donors. 


Featured Speakers

  • Shena Ashley, Vice President, Center on Nonprofits and Philanthropy, Urban Institute
  • William J. Congdon, Principal Research Associate, Center on Labor, Human Services, and Population, Urban Institute
  • Leslie Crutchfield, Executive Director, Business for Impact, Georgetown University
  • Asha Curran, Cofounder and Chief Executive Officer, GivingTuesday
  • Emily Boardman Ndulue, Researcher/Community Manager, Media Cloud, MIT Media Lab
  • Nisha Patel, Senior Fellow, Social Policy Institute, Washington University in St. Louis; Creative Catalyst, Powered by Shakti 
  • Erica Rosenthal, Director of Research, Norman Lear Center, University of Southern California
  • Benjamin Soskis, Research Associate, Center on Nonprofits and Philanthropy, Urban Institute
  • Tracy Van Slyke, Strategy Director, Pop Culture Collaborative​​
  • Dilys Winterkorn, Head of Trusts, Comic Relief; PhD Researcher in Philanthropy, SOAS University of London

Additional speakers to be announced.


For inquiries regarding lodging near the Urban Institute, please contact Because the event coincides with Cherry Blossom season, please be sure to make reservations soon. 


This event is invitation only. Please RSVP by March 6. Space is limited.

This invitation is transferrable only to another colleague at your organization. If you would like to recommend someone you think would benefit from attending this event, please contact Joyce Ovalle ( to see if space allows.

Support for this event is provided by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. For more information on the Urban Institute’s funding principles, go to

Check-in and networking will begin at 9:30 a.m. A cocktail reception will follow the program at 4:00 p.m. We strive to host inclusive, accessible events that enable all individuals, including individuals with disabilities, to engage fully. Please email if you require any accommodations or have any questions about this event.


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