John D. Gerhart Center for Philanthropy and Civic Engagement

The Gerhart Center


Senior Associate: Dr. Ali Awni
Established: 2006
Type: Multi-purpose Fundraising Foundation
Focus Region: Arab region
Sectors: Promotion of Philanthropy, Civic Engagement


The Gerhart Center is based at the American University in Cairo and offers resources for the promotion of philanthropy and civic engagement in the Arab region. The Center, in alignment with its vision and mission, supports strategic giving and civic innovation to build just, open, and equitable societies in the Arab region.


The Gerhart Center serves as the leading provider of knowledge and resources for strengthening philanthropic practice in the Arab region.


Strengthen the culture and effectiveness of philanthropy in the Arab region.


  • Knowledge Platforms: making widely available research, information, and best practice case studies to build a stronger civil society, with a focus on foundations and other forms of social investing.
  • Institutional Capacity Development: strengthening philanthropy through building leadership capacity and providing tailored peer learning and support services to philanthropic institutions in the region.
  • Corporate Sustainability Capacity Building: promoting and applying the principles of corporate sustainability management to enhance effective social responsibility in the private sector.
  • Muslim Philanthropy Digital Library: making widely available a repository of the world’s knowledge on all forms of philanthropy in Muslim-majority communities.
  • Arab Encyclopedia on Philanthropy: online resource featuring Arabic translations of key international documents to guide effective grant-making, corporate philanthropy, and more impactful institutional giving.
  • The Ma‘an Alliance: a network of Arab universities whose presidents and faculty are committed to making civic engagement a core institutional value.
  • Community-Based Learning at AUC: encouraging effective teaching across the academic curriculum through experiential learning in Cairo communities.
  • Student Leaders for Service: empowering undergraduate students to expand their skills in leadership and strategic philanthropy, while encouraging greater civic engagement at AUC.
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