Skip to content
Through the Global Philanthropy Initiative (GPI), the Social Impact Lab shares lessons learned about experiential philanthropy education with partners around the world and collaborates with them to develop courses that are socially, culturally, economically, and legally appropriate in their local contexts.


Since its inception, SIL has been driving innovation in experiential philanthropy education (EPE) through its flagship program, Northeastern Students4Giving (NS4G), which challenges students to grapple with the ethical and practical implications of making authentic grants to Boston nonprofits. Inspired by NS4G’s impact on students and Boston communities, the Khaled and Olfat Juffali family partnered with SIL to create the Global Philanthropy Initiative (GPI) in 2016. Thanks to this collaboration, Prince Sultan University launched Saudi Arabia’s first experiential philanthropy education course in January 2017.

Read an interview with the Juffalis discussing the Global Philanthropy Initiative in The Seeds of Social Change by Karin Kiewra. (Originally published in Northeastern University Magazine, Summer 2015.)

“Saudi Arabia has a rich cultural tradition of philanthropy.  There’s so much to learn from our partners about how experiential philanthropy education can be adapted across cultures. By demonstrating that classroom-based grant making can provide students with a meaningful learning experience in Saudi Arabia, we hope to inspire universities in other countries to embrace experiential philanthropy as well.”

– Rebecca Riccio, Founder and Khaled & Olfat Juffali Director of the Social Impact Lab

How GPI Works

We collaborate with our counterparts in other universities to identify a course that lends itself to EPE, then work collaboratively with the instructor to integrate EPE best practices into all aspects of the course. Together we account for the local context, including social and cultural norms related to charitable giving, laws governing nongovernmental organizations and philanthropic practice, and the landscape of nongovernmental organizations. GPI courses also retain critical elements of EPE including: 

  • Grantmaking with real money so students understand that their decisions have real-world consequences.
  • Independent decision-making so students know they are trusted and capable of making difficult, meaningful decisions.
  • Reflection to ensure that students consider the ethical implications of controlling resources and engaging in social change.
  • Collaboration with local organizations and community members.
  • A culture that encourages all students to participate so they understand that their voice matters.
  • A consensus-based decision-making process that fosters collaboration and a shared sense of purpose.

GPI Universities

Thanks to the Khaled & Olfat Juffali Family, GPI has established partnerships with two Universities in Saudi Arabia.

Prince Sultan University

Prince Sultan University’s first grant award ceremony.

To introduce experiential philanthropy practices in Saudi Arabia, SIL partnered with Dr. Yazeed Mohammed Alfakhri, philanthropic advisor to the Juffali family. After an intensive week of learning about SIL’s teaching methodology and co-designing his new course with SIL Director Rebecca Riccio, Dr. Alfakhri launched Prince Sultan University’s first course in 2017.

“We’re using the knowledge of the lab, which is already known as an innovator in experiential philanthropy education and we’re glad that they are flexible in sharing and adapting the knowledge and considering other factors that could also play a major role in what philanthropy looks like in Saudi Arabia… We’re putting together their knowledge, the context of Saudi Arabia, and the vision of [Khaled] Juffali as a philanthropist.”

Yazeed Mohammed Alfakhri (Read the full interview, Reaching New Heights With Philanthropy Education, with Dr. Alfakhri here)

Effat University

SIL Director Rebecca Riccio joined students at Effat University from afar for their first grant ceremony.

Effat University, the first private institution of higher education for women in Saudi Arabia, launched its experiential philanthropy program in May 2021 with support from the Social Impact Lab and the Juffali family. Students who partcipated in a summer pilot program awarded their first grant to an organization providing medical equipment to individuals requiring home healthcare. Based on the success of their efforts, the course is now offered on a regular basis.

For more information about the Global Philanthropy Initiative, please contact one of the GPI partners.

In the Middle East:

Dr. Yazeed M. Alfakhri

Philanthropy Consultant


In other regions:

Rebecca Riccio

Juffali Family Director, Social Impact Lab; Lecturer of Human Services