Tzedakah Lab

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The Tzedakah Lab at Teachers College expands the definition and boundaries of philanthropy envisioning a world in which all people can engage in voluntary action—regardless of social identity and socioeconomic status—that reclaims education as a public good.

As the nation becomes more diverse, many institutions of higher education have seen their student base and alumni populations change as well. But traditional methods of philanthropy don’t typically work to bring in this more diverse alumni giving base. 

The Tzedakah Lab serves to help institutions move beyond those traditional approaches and focus specifically on philanthropy rooted in diversity, equity, inclusion and justice (DEIJ). By transforming our definition of philanthropy, institutions have an opportunity to cultivate a sense of belonging for a wider set of people that results in a more vibrant and inclusive community. 

Our mission is to create and promote scholarship at the intersection of education and philanthropy. In doing so, we seek to broaden our understanding of who is philanthropic and how to cultivate a more inclusive philanthropic practice. We strive to share new research and scholarship—seeing this work as both an art and science—and work with institutions to transform their philanthropic practices. 

Our Programs

Research & Scholarship

We conduct primary research and disseminate others’ scholarly work that continues to advance the field to see philanthropy beyond traditional forms of giving. We are on the vanguard of innovations in the field and bring all of our scholarship and expertise to help translate the research to practical application.

Learn more about our research here.


We work with advancement teams looking to further their diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice (DEIJ) goals in their work to co-create workshops tailored to your specific environment and needs to help you realize your DEIJ values. We use data and our knowledge and scholarship to drive the conversations and the workshop material.

Learn more about our workshops here.

Alumni Census Project

Through creating and managing a comprehensive alumni census from start to finish, we help institutions gather the data they need to transform the way their advancement teams can do their work to get to know your alumni even better and to, therefore, better meet their needs.

Learn more about our alumni census work here.

Philanthropy Education Translational Research Archive (PETRA)

This dynamic research tool for scholars and practitioners brings together the scholarship of researchers and practitioners into conversation with one another. PETRA seeks to enhance philanthropic engagement by contributing to the production of more inclusive knowledge and practice.

Learn more about PETRA here.

Tzedakah Lab Researchers in the Media

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