Skip to main content

D. Susan Wisely

Area(s) of Expertise: 
Leadership development
Strategic philanthropy

Susan is MDC’s first scholar-in-residence, focusing on giving, leadership education, civic engagement, and evaluation.

After teaching social psychology at Indiana University and serving as planning, evaluation, and research director for a federally funded employment program, she joined the staff of Lilly Endowment Inc.. During her 29-year tenure at Lilly, she served as director of program evaluation, chaired the foundation’s youth committee, and led efforts to strengthen philanthropic practice and nonprofit leadership. 

She is the author of Evaluation Notebook (1980), one of the first resources on program evaluation for foundations. She was a founding member of the Council on Foundations’ Grantmakers Evaluation Network and advised the Council on the preparation of Evaluation for Foundations.

She has written and co-authored several essays that promote reflection on charitable giving. Among these are “The Four Traditions of Philanthropy,” published in The Civically Engaged Reader and a key tool in MDC’s work with Passing Gear Philanthropy. Most recently she co-authored with Robert Lynn, Amazing Pressure: the Hidden History of Stewardship in American Protestantism 1820s-1960, scheduled for November 2012 publication.

She has twice been named a Sagamore of the Wabash, the highest award given by Governor of Indiana. She also received the Jefferson Award for Public Service, a national award which honors community and public service. 

Educational Background: Sociology (Indiana University)