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The Marshall Institute

5 Lincoln's Inn Fields




Phone: + 44 (0)20 7955 7655



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Marshall Institute for Philanthropy and Social Entrepreneurship

The Marshall Institute’s aim is to improve the impact and effectiveness of private contributions to the public good. Philanthropy, whether large, organised and coordinated or small, local and volunteer-run, has a huge aggregate effect. Social entrepreneurship attracts increasing amounts of capital and innovative individuals to enterprises whose purpose is improving the state of the world.

New forms of financing, innovative digital volunteering, enterprises addressing health, education, housing, social justice – all are vital elements of philanthropy and social entrepreneurship. Our ambition is to bring to these fields an analytical base, a series of taught courses, and a forum for convening the various actors across sectors and regions. 

The Marshall Institute will inform and coordinate the efforts of citizens, researchers, public and private sector organisations, and social entrepreneurs who are working to tackle the world’s most pressing challenges. We will equip the foremost figures in the field, and the leaders of the future, with the knowledge they need to put philanthropic funding and social endeavour to best use.

The Marshall Institute draws upon the exceptional global reach and expertise at LSE and collaborates with existing departments, research centres and institutes within the School.

The Marshall Institute will focus on three core areas:


Red Globe at New Academic Building

The challenge embraced by the Marshall Institute is to imbue private action for the public good with the science to maximise its impact.

Three initial streams of research are currently planned that correspond to the three key bodies involved in private action for the public good: the organisation, the beneficiary, and the individuals giving their time, money or knowledge. Our research on both the organisation and the beneficiary utilise a co-generation of knowledge model, in which we identify questions and implement field research in collaborations with local partners who can bring innovative ideas to scale. 

Within LSE, we support and encourage work across a range of disciplines and from multiple perspectives, hosting an annual research symposium that brings researchers together across the School and a small grants research programme.  

We host an international annual conference on Economics of the Social Sector, together with the Chicago Booth School of Business. The inaugural conference in November 2016 featured research on the growing set of organisations that are neither traditional profit-maximising firms, nor traditional wholly publicly-owned and controlled government agencies (an interview with Oliver Hart, 2016 Nobel Prize winner, on his paper at the conference is here). We will also be hosting a regular series of visitors from outside LSE. 

Teaching and Learning

Happy Students

The Marshall Institute is developing a range of learning opportunities for LSE students, alumni, professionals and leaders in the field who wish to maximise their capacity to address societal challenges through private action.  

We are collaborating with LSE departments to offer elective courses available to LSE students; we are launching a series of six 90-minute interactive sessions, all of which will allow our students to gain a critical understanding of the impact and effectiveness of private action for the public good, social entrepreneurship and philanthropy.

LSE students can find out more about the elective courses, their availability and eligibility requirements in the LSE Calendar.

Further programmes are being developed, so make sure you join the Marshall Institute’s mailing list to be the first to know.   

Convening for Impact

Convening at the Marshall Institute

The Marshall Institute’s mission is to understand but also to increase the impact of private contributions to the public good.

To do this effectively we must interact with and provide a platform for exchange between the key actors in philanthropy and social entrepreneurship, everyone from investors and foundations to individual donors, entrepreneurs and government agencies. To do so we will host a range of regular events, seminars and lectures from January 2017.

More information on the Marshall Institute’s Convening for Impact series will be coming soon. Please sign up to our mailing list to be the first to know.