Current Issues in Sustainability Panel: Philanthropy and Sustainable Innovation


Current Issues in Sustainability Panel: Philanthropy and Sustainable Innovation

William Pitt Union Ballroom, 4:30pm-5:30pm, Wednesday, October 12th, 2022

Philanthropic organizations have become central to the promotion, definition, and funding of ‘innovation’ as an answer to the challenges of social and environmental sustainability. Sustainable futures are increasingly thought to rest on the ability of governments, companies, investors, and civil society groups to innovate and innovate well: to improve socio-environmental conditions through intentional, disruptive changes. Whether regionally focused, like The Pittsburgh Foundation, or globally oriented, like the Rockefeller Foundation, philanthropic organizations are attempting to galvanize multi-sectoral interest in innovation for sustainability. This panel session will bring together three people to discuss the roles, opportunities and challenges associated with philanthropy-driven sustainable innovation practices. Emmie Calland (The Pittsburgh Foundation) will discuss how the Pittsburgh Foundation uses responsible philanthropy to shape innovative solutions to the critical needs of Pittsburgh communities.  Dr Emily Rosenman (Penn State University) will discuss philanthropic-led innovation in racial justice and economic development in the Detroit region, and Dr Tom Baker (University of Auckland, New Zealand) will discuss how and why city governments around the world have turned to philanthropic organizations (such as Bloomberg Philanthropies) to enact institutional innovation.



Emmie Calland is the Director of Strategic Projects and Foundation Initiatives at The Pittsburgh Foundation. Emmie is responsible for leading cross-functional team projects and building momentum for key strategic initiatives. A graduate of Pitt’s Graduate School for Public and International Affairs, Emmie joined The Pittsburgh Foundation in 2016 and leads the New Philanthropic Leaders Program.

Emily Rosenman is an urban and economic geographer at Pennsylvania State University who researches the connections between finance, urbanization, and inequality. Her work is motivated by the aim of understanding relationships that produce both wealth and impoverishment, with a specific focus on the uneven geographies of financialization and racialization characterizing contemporary urban life.

Tom Baker is a geographer at the University of Auckland (New Zealand), where he conducts research on how public policy is made and implemented. His research agenda pays attention to multiple dimensions of policy formation and has explored these interests through empirical research on policies and practices in a range of domains, including homelessness, housing, social security, and drug treatment.