New philanthropy center to hold information seminar

Dr. Jim Erickson, the director of the new Center for Philanthropy at La Sierra University.
Dr. Jim Erickson, the director of the new Center for Philanthropy at La Sierra University.

June 3, 2009
By Darla Martin Tucker

RIVERSIDE, Calif. – ( ) As the nonprofit community struggles with fundraising and myriad other issues in this difficult economic climate, La Sierra University’s new Center for Philanthropy aims to help.

Toward better informing agencies and organizations about its offerings, the center will hold an hour-long seminar on June 9 at 4 p.m., at La Sierra’s Alumni Center, 11500 Pierce St., Riverside. A campus map is at

During the meeting, philanthropy center Director Jim Erickson will give a short lecture on fund raising strategies and board development. “This is so attendees will have an idea of what the center’s programs will entail,” Erickson said.

The seminar is free. The center is requesting participants register for the event in advance by calling 951-785-2064, or by sending an e-mail to

The Center for Philanthropy, initiated by La Sierra’s School of Business, offers nonprofit organizations free assistance on fund raising strategies, donor cultivation and advisory board development and expansion. Since the center’s launch on April 14, Erickson has aided approximately 12 nonprofits, providing counsel to their boards or executive directors.

La Sierra’s new center this fall will also offer, at minimal charge, a certificate program in philanthropy for development professionals and charity executives. And it will extend to graduate students in the School of Business a philanthropy emphasis for Master of Business Administration degrees.

The certificate program will consist of a six-week course featuring 90-minute sessions consecutively focusing on fund raising techniques; reasons people contribute; donor and volunteer cultivation and recognition; advisory board development and expansion; campaigns and estate planning; grant writing and strategic planning in fund raising.

La Sierra MBA students opting for a philanthropy emphasis in their degree program will focus on all aspects of fund raising and philanthropy, including many of the topics covered by the certificate course.

The philanthropy center’s mission includes exploring initiatives and issues in philanthropy and fund raising which might be helpful to Inland Empire charities; coordinating internship opportunities for students; and offering lectures by prominent major donors and national foundation and corporate executives responsible for their organization’s philanthropic outreach. The center will also share research and trends in fund raising and philanthropy.

“We’re trying to establish a culture of philanthropy in the region,” Erickson said. “This is such a tough time economically, but in the tough times the ones who are suffering the most are the disadvantaged.”

Erickson will provide much of the counsel to nonprofits who approach the center for assistance and he will teach the center’s certificate courses. He will bring to the center’s programs respected and accomplished leaders in the advancement field to lend their advice to participants.

Erickson brings to La Sierra more than 50 years of university and nonprofit fund raising experience in the United States and Europe, and has been associated with the University of California for the past 25 years. In addition to his directorship of La Sierra’s philanthropy center, Erickson serves as emeritus vice chancellor for advancement for the University of California system. He is past president of The Community Foundation Serving Riverside and San Bernardino Counties based in Riverside and has headed virtually every major fund raising campaign and initiative in the Inland Empire the past 25 years.

His background includes serving as vice chancellor for advancement at the University of California, Riverside and UC Merced. He also served as executive director of the UC Riverside Foundation between 1985 and 1999. During Erickson’s tenure, annual private sector support grew from $1.6 million to more than $27 million, and over $100 million in private support was generated with the addition of 26 endowed chairs.

In response to calls for fund raising assistance from the mayors of San Bernardino and Riverside, Erickson spearheaded campaigns to aid victims of Southern California’s wildfires, Hurricane Katrina and the Southeast Asian tsunami. In each instance, Erickson raised more than $1 million.

The current economic climate challenges those seeking funds for various missions and demands additional knowledge and effort, Erickson said. “We just have to work all the harder to get the message out and convince people to give,” he said.


PR Contact: Larry Becker
Executive Director of University Relations
La Sierra University
Riverside, California
951.785.2460 (voice)

  • Last update on  December 07, 2009