Claire is an expert on the history and economics of American philanthropy. She is also an engaged civic leader who speaks widely about the synergy of capitalism and philanthropy, encouraging fundraisers, financial advisors, corporate leaders, and politicians to harness America’s tradition of moral entrepreneurship to solve today’s problems of poverty and inequality. She is currently Adjunct Professor of Philanthropy at New York University’s Wagner School of Public Service.
Gaudiani is a prolific author, having written four books and many articles on the importance of citizen generosity over the past decade. Her best known works include The Greater Good: How Philanthropy Drives the American Economy and Can Save Capitalism (2003), and Daughters of the Declaration: How Women Social Entrepreneurs Built the American Dream (2011).
Gaudiani is a director of numerous corporate and social enterprises, with particular expertise in governance issues. Her current directorships include The Henry Luce Foundation (www.hluce.org), MBIA Inc.(www.mbia.com), the Council for Economic Education (www.councilforeconed.org), The Philanthropic Collaborative,(www.philanthropycollaborative.org) and the Davlin Foundation (www.davlinfoundation.org) She also directs The Declaration Initiative (www.declarationinitiative.org) a private national effort to assist the most impoverished Americans to overcome obstacles to upward mobility.
Gaudiani is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and recipient of the Rosso Medal for Distinguished Service to Philanthropy from Indiana University. She has received ten honorary doctorates, as well as distinguished teaching awards from Indiana University, Purdue University, and New York University.
From 2004-2009, Gaudiani was a clinical professor at the Heyman Center for Philanthropy at New York University, where she directed the graduate program in philanthropic studies. From 2001-2004, she was a senior research scholar at the Yale Law School, following 13 years as President of Connecticut College, where she was also Professor of French. Under her leadership from 1988-2001, Connecticut College quintupled its endowment and rose to the top 25 private liberal arts colleges in the nation.
She also served from 1997 to 2001 as volunteer president of the New London Development Corporation, dedicated to building the tax base, creating jobs and improving the quality of life for all citizens of New London,CT. During her tenure, NLDC managed $75 million in state infrastructure funding and attracted $300 million in private investment to New London.
Gaudiani holds a PhD and master's degree in French literature from Indiana University and a bachelor's degree, also in French, from Connecticut College. She is married to David Burnett, PhD, her partner in Gaudiani Associates and they have two married children and four grandchildren.