National University’s Sanford Institute of Philanthropy Announces Launch of Newest Affiliate Institute at Bellevue University

Based on the vision of philanthropist T. Denny Sanford, Bellevue University joins a national network of Institutes being launched through the leadership of National University to improve the fundraising capabilities of nonprofits through proven curricula

Bellevue, Nebraska – September 8, 2016 – National University’s Sanford Institute of Philanthropy is pleased to announce the launch of an affiliate institute at Bellevue University that will help nonprofits increase their fundraising capabilities, positively impacting Nebraska and the western Iowa region. Bellevue University is the latest affiliate to join the nationwide network of institutes that each offer proven curricula developed by the founding institute and presented by recognized nonprofit leaders, members of academia, and renowned philanthropists to reflect the vision of philanthropist and entrepreneur, T. Denny Sanford.

Through the arrangement, Bellevue University will have access to educational resources developed through National University, a private nonprofit that founded the Sanford Institute of Philanthropy in 2014. A foundational element of each institute is the Cause Selling approach, which blends the passion of philanthropy with an emphasis on business principles. Other affiliated institutes have opened at John F. Kennedy University, which is part of the National University System and serves the San Francisco Bay Area, and at Augustana University, which serves South Dakota.

“We are very pleased to celebrate the launch of Bellevue University’s Sanford Institute of Philanthropy, which will strengthen the philanthropic culture in the region they serve and build the capacity of nonprofit leaders,” said Dr. Lena Rodriguez, Endowed Director of the Sanford Institute of Philanthropy at National University. “The vision of Mr. Sanford is to make the world a better place, and through the institutes’ work we create stronger communities through more sustainable and impactful nonprofits.”

Bellevue University has supported and assisted nonprofit agencies and organizations for many years. The campus community, including students, contributes countless hours to improve communities and give a helping hand to those in need. The University offers education and training to build capacity and sustainability for leaders and managers of nonprofit organizations. The formal connection with the Sanford Institute of Philanthropy will provide an even stronger framework for developing capacity and improving people’s lives.

“We are pleased to establish our own Sanford Institute of Philanthropy to support the work of our region’s nonprofit community by helping them make even more positive impacts in the lives and communities they touch,” said Dr. Mary B. Hawkins, Bellevue University president. “We are excited to join this nationwide movement of educational institutions committed to carrying out the vision of Mr. T. Denny Sanford through these exceptional and impactful approaches.”

Mr. Sanford, considered to be one of the world’s most generous donors, believes in making the world a better place by helping nonprofits and cause organizations maximize their fundraising potential. The core approaches of the Sanford Institute of Philanthropy are based on Mr. Sanford’s own interactions with hundreds of nonprofits and foundations, and his desire to provide training for fundraisers to more effectively convey their causes. He teamed up with National University to develop educational programs that emphasize a Cause Selling approach to strengthening donor relationships.

The Cause Selling approach, as envisioned by Mr. Sanford, applies proven business and sales principles that strengthen donor relationships. It does this through a multi-faceted approach of communication skills and basic psychology, as well as research, strategy, and data analysis. This approach has been detailed in a one-of-a-kind textbook, Cause Selling: The Sanford Way. The book production process was overseen by National University, and Dr. David J. Lill, an educator, professional salesperson, and author of the widely acclaimed textbook, Selling: The Profession, and his daughter Jennifer, wrote the textbook.

Each Institute, including Bellevue University, offers educational programs based on the Cause Selling fundraising approach in conjunction with their unique activities and programs to best serve their local communities.

To date, more than 6,500 nonprofit leaders have benefited from the founding Institute’s programs, which include seminars and lectures. As the project lead, National University has also developed fundraising certificate programs in coordination with external organizations that incorporate approaches developed by the Sanford Institute of Philanthropy at National University, such as one that is offered to members of the National School Association Foundation.

About the Sanford Institute of Philanthropy at National University
The Sanford Institute of Philanthropy offers educational and training programs to help nonprofits significantly increase their fundraising capabilities and their positive impacts on society. Based on the vision of philanthropist and entrepreneur, T. Denny Sanford, the first Sanford Institute of Philanthropy launched at National University in 2014 with the development of proven contemporary curricula presented by recognized nonprofit leaders, faculty, and renowned philanthropists. Headquartered in San Diego, National University – which is among the largest private, nonprofit universities in California – is leading the expansion of a network of affiliated institutes of philanthropy in coordination with other educational institutions. A common cornerstone among each institute is the Cause Selling approach toward fundraising and donor relationships that blends the passion of philanthropy with an emphasis on proven business principles.

To learn more about the Sanford Institute of Philanthropy at Bellevue University, contact Nancy McCabe at

To learn more about joining the Sanford Institute of Philanthropy national initiative, please contact the Endowed Director, Dr. Lena Rodriguez, at (858) 624-8714, or visit

Media Inquiries

National University
Anna Cearley
Director of Public Relations

Bellevue University
Jim Maxwell
Director of Public Relations