Emmett D. Carson


Honorary Degree (2007)
Doctor of Humane Letters
20th Anniversary Center on Philanthropy
Location: Indianapolis
Presenter: Michael McRobbie


Internationally recognized as one of the most significant and influential voices in the study and practice of philanthropy today, Emmett D. Carson is known for spearheading the study of giving in communities of color. As a leading scholar dedicated to understanding diversity in the sector, his work impacts both academics and nonprofit professionals alike. In 2007, as a part of the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University's 20th Anniversary Celebration, Indiana University awarded its highest honor, an honorary degree, to Carson for his remarkable work within and impact on the philanthropic sector.

In his current capacity as CEO and President of the Silicon Valley Community Foundation, he manages one of the largest community foundations in the world, with assets over $1.9 billion, and continues to encourage organizations to seriously consider the engagement of people of color in nonprofits, foundations and their boards.

Carson previously was President and CEO of The Minneapolis Foundation. Under his leadership, the organization received national recognition for its grantmaking and development efforts and increased its assets more than three-fold. Carson also created and managed the Ford Foundation's first worldwide grantmaking program on philanthropy and the nonprofit sector.

A Phi Beta Kappa graduate in economics from Morehouse College, Carson earned Masters in Public Affairs and doctorate degrees from Princeton University. In addition to his numerous articles and essays on philanthropy and social justice, his actions reflect a lifelong commitment to community service and efforts to build diversity in philanthropy and nonprofit sector. As Chair of the Council on Foundations board, he utilized his unique position as its key spokesperson to further the discussion of philanthropic ideas. Carson is a former Board of Governors member at the Center on Philanthropy and is consistently listed by The NonProfit Times as one of the 50 most influential leaders in the philanthropic and nonprofit sector.