Currently Lilya Wagner is director of Philanthropic Service for Institutions, a trainer for The Fund Raising School as well as on the philanthropic studies faculty of the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy at Indiana University, and teaches in the graduate program at St. Mary’s University in Minnesota.
From 2005-2008, Lilya was Vice President for Philanthropy at Counterpart International in Washington, D.C., an international development organization which provides a variety of services and projects in many countries. Prior to joining Counterpart, Lilya completed fourteen years of association with the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University serving as associate director for public service and director of the Women’s Philanthropy Institute. Her responsibilities included developing and managing projects and programs, such as the Philanthropic Ambassadors and the Hispanic Stewardship Development Partnership. She was in charge of curriculum preparation and revision for The Fund Raising School (TFRS) and was a frequent speaker and workshop presenter in North America and internationally. She has done training, speaking and consulting in more than fifty countries.
One of many awards she has received is the Henry A. Rosso Medal for Lifetime Achievement in Ethical Fund Raising by the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy. This award is given to selected individuals who have significantly advanced the fundraising profession nationwide and globally as well as provided exceptional leadership in a long, productive career of distinction.
Her published writings include articles and book chapters on philanthropy, fundraising and the nonprofit sector, along with books and numerous articles on a variety of general interest and professional topics. Careers in Fundraising, winner of the Skystone Ryan Research Prize presented by the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP), is a comprehensive volume on fundraising as a profession. Another significant publication in her field is Leading Up: Transformational Leadership for Fundraisers. She has also had several books published in other areas of interest, such as Women War Correspondents of World War II. She has been an editor and a columnist as well.
A recently-released volume on the effects of culture, traditions, nationalities, and religion on generosity and philanthropy, Diversity and Philanthropy: Expanding the Circle of Giving, was published by Praeger Publishers. This book reflects Lilya’s own background as a refugee and immigrant, her extensive global work through the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy as well as other organizations that have engaged her as a consultant or trainer, and her interest in cultural differences and how these enrich civil society.
From 1993 until 1996 Lilya worked as vice president for development at the National Association for Community Leadership but continued her affiliation with the Center on Philanthropy (now known as the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy) as a faculty member for The Fund Raising School and trainer for Leadership Works. Prior to joining the Center on Philanthropy, Lilya served as vice president for institutional advancement at Union College in Lincoln, Nebraska and received several national awards for her fundraising and advertising programs. She began her fundraising career by working in health care, and has served as a volunteer and board member for human service, arts and community organizations.
Lilya holds a doctorate in education from the University of Florida in Gainesville and has a master’s degree in journalism as well as one in music. She has taught a variety of subjects at the university, college and high school levels, and has been employed as a public relations specialist.