Debra Mesch is director of the Women's Philanthropy Institute (WPI) at the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy. As of July 1, 2015, she holds the Eileen Lamb O'Gara Endowed Chair in Women's Philanthropy at the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy.
Dr. Mesch's primary responsibility for the Women's Philanthropy Institute is to guide the research agenda on the role of gender in philanthropy. She has undertaken studies addressing the role of women in Lions Clubs International and is currently working on a nation study of giving and volunteering of Lions Clubs in China. During her tenure as director of the WPI, she and her colleagues have written several reports for the Women Give series examining the effects of age, marital status, and income of gender differences in the likelihood and amount of giving to charity.
Dr. Mesch's research agenda has focused on women's philanthropy; issues of civic engagement; volunteer motivation and management; executive compensation in nonprofits; human resource management in nonprofits; diversity; and race and gender issues in giving and volunteering. Dr. Mesch received both her M.B.A. and Ph.D. in organizational behavior/human resource management from Indiana University Kelley School of Business. In 2020, Mesch was awarded Indiana University's Bicentennial in recognition of her distinguished contributions to the university.