Lance C. Buhl, Ph.D.

Lance Buhl is Senior Fellow at MDC ( and Deputy Director of the United States-Southern Africa Center for Leadership and Public Values in the Sanford School of Public Policy, Duke University ( He helped create the Center (and its counterpart at the University of Cape Town) and managed its programs.

He led in translating the core ideas of the Center’s founder – former U.S. Ambassador to South Africa, James A. Joseph – into programs: the Emerging Leaders Program for rising mid-career leaders in Southern Africa and the United States (2002-2008), the Binational Civil Society Forum composed of leading American and South African figures in the two nations’ nonprofit sectors (2002-07), and, with colleagues at Southern University (Baton Rouge), the Louisiana Effective Leadership Program (2007-2011).

A graduate of Kent State University (’61), he earned his doctorate in American history from Harvard University (‘69), and taught and served in administrative positions there and at Cleveland State University. From 1974 to 1981, he was founding director of Projects for Educational Development; chairperson, the Chancellor’s Advisory Committee on Instructional Development (for the Ohio Board of Regents); founding director of the Cleveland (and Ohio) cite of the Educational Policy Fellowship Program (of the Institute for Educational Leadership, Washington, DC); and an independent consultant on teaching and institutional effectiveness across the nation.

From 1981 to 1993 Lance was program officer, manager and then director of British Petroleum’s corporate contributions program in the United States. He created and managed the company’s programs in urban revitalization (focused primarily on low-income community development) and in the environment, and played a facilitating role in the creation of the Federal Low-Income Tax Credit. He took a strategic approach to philanthropy – partnering with grantees and other funders over time to make positive, substantive and enduring change in support of social and economic justice.

Since leaving British Petroleum, Lance has provided consulting services in support of developing strategic grantmaking (and grantseeking) to some 60 foundations, corporations and non-profits, as well as the Center at Duke (since 2001). He has written extensively in each career. Most recently, he took the lead in co-writing with colleagues in the Louisiana Effective Leadership Program “Leadership for a More Equitable Louisiana,” in Resilience and Opportunity, Lessons from the U.S. Gulf Coast after Katrina and Rita, edited by Amy Liu, Roland V. Anglin, Richard M. Mizelle Jr., and Allison Plyer (Brookings Institution Press, 2011).

Lance C. Buhl, Ph.D. President, Buhl & Associates Deputy Director of the Center for Leadership & Public Values, Duke University

Lance C. Buhl, Ph.D.

President, Buhl & Associates Deputy Director of the Center for Leadership & Public Values, Duke University

Pittsboro, North Carolina, United States

Civic Engagement
Facilitation & Strategic Planning
Career Stage
  • Fellow
  • Next Gen
  • Mid-Career
  • Bridge
  • Encore
  • Emeritus