Spring 2021

Spring 2021 Presenters

January 26

Philanthropy Research Workshop: Jennifer BrassJennifer N. Brass, Associate professor at the O’Neill School of Public & Environmental Affairs at Indiana University, Bloomington

“Can civil society participation mitigate the negative effect of electricity access on political participation? Evidence from Kenya.”

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Abstract: Electricity access rates in sub-Saharan Africa are, on average, the worst in the world. Fewer than half of residents have regular access to the electric grid, and for many, electricity is sporadic and expensive. Because of this, international donors and national governments have recently reinvigorated efforts to expand citizen access to the electricity grid. Policymakers and funders assume that improved access will result in better economic, political, and social outcomes for African citizens and residents, as electricity facilitates new opportunities. Yet a growing amount of research shows that those with access to electricity actually do not have better outcomes. Their incomes do not necessarily increase, their educational performance doesn’t always get better, and they actually participate less in political life. Preliminary evidence from a cross-national survey of African citizens (N~165,000), however, suggests that one group of people do participate more when they get access to electricity: members of civil society organizations. Our research combines this cross-national evidence with results from a nationally representative phone survey of ~1,900 people conducted in Kenya in December 2020. Results suggest which civil society members are more likely to contact government officials with concerns, and which are more likely to engage in other forms of collective action, like joining others to raise an issue of common concern, or attending protests or demonstrations. In addition to the research findings, I will discuss challenges of data collection and field research during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Bio: Jennifer N. Brass, associate professor at Indiana University, studies service provision, governance, and state development, with a primary geographic focus on sub-Saharan Africa. She authored Allies or Adversaries? NGOs and the State in Africa (Cambridge University Press), as well as a range of articles and chapters focused on NGO provision of services and/or energy and electricity services. Brass has conducted field research in Senegal, Djibouti, Kenya and Uganda. She holds a PhD in Political Science from the University of California at Berkeley.

February 9

Hillary SteinbergHillary Steinberg, Doctoral candidate, University of Colorado Boulder

“Constructing the Sick Child through Charity”

To get a better idea of her work, consult the following podcast:

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Abstract: It is important to understand the cultural perception of pediatric hospitalization to compare it with the lived experience of patients. I establish the public perception of hospitalized children via data collected pertaining to charity, altruism, and philanthropy. I use interviews of staff members from the foundation, child life, patients, volunteers, and the chaplains. I observe events relating to donations of material goods, money, and time. I argue that the microsociological process of gift-giving reflects the perceptions of the giver. Further, these gifts structure the Child, a white, upper middle class, gender conforming, school age child who has “beaten” cancer as an apolitical recipient. However, the Child is not obtainable for patients. The first step in the process of becoming a pediatric patient is to reconcile the image of the Child with the lived experience of hospitalization.

Bio: Hillary is a doctoral candidate studying health, the life course (youth and childhood), identity, and gender. Her previous project was a qualitative analysis using interviews she conducted with young adults with chronic health conditions, the results of which can be found in Advances in Life Course Research. Her dissertation is an ethnography of a major children's hospital and follows 19 focal patients. She argues that children and young adults who are hospitalized frequently undergo social processes to take on and eventually exit a pediatric patient identity. She is on the job market and open to academic and nonacademic positions.

February 16

Daisha M. MerrittSabith KhanSabith Khan, Assistant professor and program director, MPPA, California Lutheran University

Daisha M. Merritt, Associate department chair, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University

“Remittances & International Development: The Forces Shaping Community”

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Abstract: This presentation will focus on insights from the book, Remittances & International Development: The Forces Shaping Community, by Khan and Merritt (Taylor & Francis, 2020). Data from field work in Mexico and India will be shared, along with policy insights, given the ongoing changes in the field of remittances and its intersection with international development.

Bios: Sabith Khan’s research focuses on philanthropy and more recently on issues of remittances. Khan’s work has been published in Voluntas, Journal of Nonprofit Education and Leadership among other journals. He is the lead author of award-winning book (Virginia Hodgkinson Award, ARNOVA 2020): Islamic Education in the US and Evolution of Muslim Nonprofit Institutions (2017).

Daisha M. Merritt is the associate department chair in the Department of Management and Technology in the College of Business at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. Merritt received her PhD in Strategic Leadership at James Madison University and her MBA from Florida Gulf Coast University. Her research includes nonprofit governance, remittances and impacts on community development, and leadership strategies. She also coaches many business students and nonprofit organizations for resilience training and leadership development.

March 9

David DeStenoDavid DeSteno, Professor of Psychology, Northeastern University

“Gratitude: An Investment for the Long Term”

To get a better idea of his work, consult the following article:

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Abstract: Overcoming the desire for immediate gratification has been shown to benefit many types of social, moral, and economic decisions. Yet humans seem to face continual difficulty in mustering the self-control necessary to accept short-term costs that ultimately lead to greater social and economic capital in the future. In opposition to the common view that emotions solely foster desires for immediate gratification, in this talk I’ll show how one morally-toned emotion in particular—gratitude—can nudge decisions and behaviors that favor future gains over immediate ones.

Bio: David is a fellow of the Association for Psychological Science and the American Psychological Association, for which he served as editor-in-chief of the journal Emotion. His work has been repeatedly funded by the National Science Foundation and the John Templeton Foundation, and has been regularly featured in the media, including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, CBS Sunday Morning, NPR’s Radiolab and On Point, and USA Today. He is the author of three books and frequently writes about his work for major publications including The New York Times, The Atlantic, Harvard Business Review, The Washington Post, and The Los Angeles Times. David received his Ph.D. in psychology from Yale University.

March 16

David King

David P. King, Karen Lake Buttery Director, Lake Institute on Faith & Giving; Associate professor of philanthropic studies, IU Lilly Family School of Philanthropy

“The Role of Religion in Humanitarian Philanthropy: The Case of World Vision”

To get a better idea of his work, consult the following articles:

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Abstract: Religion has also been a powerful force for both the givers and receivers of philanthropy. As individuals’ religious identities and the roles of faith-based institutions evolve, these particular religious identities provide various lenses through which many Americans see and interact with the world. The dynamic intersections of both faith and philanthropy may prove to be some of the most persuasive forces shaping not only local and national issues but also Americans’ global imaginaries and actual engagement in the world outside our own borders.

In my recent book, God’s Internationalists: World Vision and the Age of Evangelical Humanitarianism, I seek to take the religious identity of religious humanitarianism and philanthropy seriously. In outlining the seventy-year history of World Vision, I have chronicled the organization’s transformation from a small missionary agency to what is now the largest Christian humanitarian organization in the world, with over 40,000 employees and a multi-billion dollar budget. I argue that World Vision’s transformation from 1950 to the present serves as a lens through which to explore both shifts within post-World War II American evangelicalism as well as the complexities of faith-based humanitarianism.

In this talk, I will situate my historical study within the growing literature on religious humanitarianism to demonstrate that the third sector did not operate out of the way and on its own, but rather, it most often served as the context in an increasingly global civil society where governments, international bodies, corporations, nonprofits, and religious communities intersected to make sense of their engagement with global issues. In so doing, I will argue for a continued need to explore the particular histories, cultures, religious traditions, and practices of communities both local and transnational as a key focus area to explore the continuities and diversity within philanthropy past and present.

Bio: David P. King is the Karen Lake Buttrey Director of the Lake Institute on Faith and Giving as well as associate professor of philanthropic studies within the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy. He is also fueled by facilitating conversations with faith leaders, donors, and fundraisers (of all generations) around the intersections of faith and giving. His 2019 book from University of Pennsylvania Press, God’s Internationalists: World Vision and the Age of Evangelical Humanitarianism, recently won ARNOVA’s Peter Dobkin Hall Prize for the best book in the History of Philanthropy. He is also the co-editor with Philip Goff of another book forthcoming this year, Religion and Philanthropy in the United States, that critically explores the intersections of religion and philanthropy in the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

March 23

Jessica Gordon-NembhardJessica Gordon-Nembhard, Professor of Community Justice and Social Economic Development, Department of Africana Studies, John Jay College, of the City University of New York

“Cooperative Economics and the Pursuit of Racial Justice”

To get a better idea of her work, consult the following articles:

Abstract: Political and social rights are hollow without economic democracy and economic justice. If you look closely at African American history you find that even when we were discriminated against and oppressed at work, or couldn’t find a job, we engaged in economic cooperation and solidarity on the side, or instead in our own communities. This helped us to survive, but also to be independent, to engage in resistance, as well as simply to feed and support our families. Gordon-Nembhard discusses the history of African American economic cooperation and the ways in which Black Americans argued for and practiced cooperative economics in the struggle for civil rights. She explores both the challenges and benefits of economic democracy and cooperative ownership.

Bio: Author of Collective Courage: A History of African American Cooperative Economic Thought and Practice and 2016 inductee into the U.S. Cooperative Hall of Fame, Jessica Gordon-Nembhard, Ph.D., is Professor of Community Justice and Social Economic Development, in the Department of Africana Studies, John Jay College CUNY. Dr. Gordon-Nembhard is a political economist specializing in cooperative economics, community economic development, worker ownership, the solidarity economy, and Black Political Economy. She is a member of the Council of Cooperative Economists of the National Cooperative Business Association/CLUSA; and the International Co-operative Alliance Committee on Co-operative Research; as well as a member of the board of directors of: Green Worker Cooperatives, Grassroots Economic Organizing Newsletter, Organizing Neighborhood Equity DC, and Southern Reparations Loan Funds; and past board member of the Association of Cooperative Educators; and a past president of the National Economic Association. She is the proud mother of Stephen and Susan, and the grandmother of Stephon, Hugo, and Ismaél Nembhard.

March 30

Tanisha C. FordTanisha C. Ford, Professor of History, The Graduate Center, The City University of New York

“Our Secret Society: America's Forgotten Black Philanthropists for Racial Justice”

Abstract: Drawn from Ford’s manuscript-in-progress, this talk centers on the black women philanthropists who raised millions of dollars for various civil rights organizations in the years following World War II. As architects of modern fundraising, women such as Urban League Guild founder Mollie Moon were in the business of being seen, of being written about. There are literally thousands of stories published about them in the African American press between 1940 and 1980. Some even left behind personal papers for posterity. So why don’t we know many of their names? Who do we often dismiss Black women's giving as something other than “philanthropy”? Ford will address these questions as she walks us through the sweeping archive she’s assembled to throw light upon a generation of politically mobilized Black women powerbrokers.

Bio: Tanisha C. Ford, Professor of History at The Graduate Center, CUNY, has written extensively on the cultural politics of modern social movements. Trained in twentieth-century U.S. history, Ford employs what she terms “eclectic archiving,” analyzing manuscript collections alongside object-based archival materials such as family heirlooms, yearbooks, album covers, and textiles. Through these fragments of historical evidence, she pieces together vibrant, untold histories of women who came of age during the turbulent 1960s.

Ford is the author of Liberated Threads: Black Women, Style, and the Global Politics of Soul (UNC Press, 2015), which won the OAH Liberty Legacy Foundation Award for Best Book on Civil Rights History, the critically acclaimed Dressed in Dreams: A Black Girl’s Love Letter to the Power of Fashion (St. Martin’s, 2019), and co-author (with Deborah Willis) of Kwame Brathwaite: Black is Beautiful (Aperture, 2019). Her scholarship has been published in the Journal of Southern History, NKA: Journal of Contemporary African Art, the Black Scholar, and QED: A Journal in GLBTQ Worldmaking. She writes regularly for public audiences, with feature stories, cultural criticism, and profiles in the Atlantic, New York Times, Elle, Aperture, The Root, Bitch, and The Feminist Wire.

In 2019, Ford was named to The Root 100 Most Influential African Americans list for her innovative, public-facing scholarship. Her research has been supported by the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Ford Foundation, Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, and University of London’s School of Advanced Study, among others. Ford is working on a new book-length study, Our Secret Society: America’s Forgotten Black Philanthropists for Racial Justice, which examines the webs of power and influence that financially bolstered the Civil Rights movement.

April 13

Marta ReuterFilip WijkstromFilip Wijkström, Stockholm Center for Civil Society Studies, Stockholm School of Economics

Marta Reuter, Stockholm Center for Civil Society Studies, and Department of Political Science, Stockholm University

“Nonprofit governance revisited. Towards a new theoretical model of governance configurations in civil society organizations.”

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Abstract: While arrangements for direction and control in for-profit firms for decades have been the subject of traditional (for-profit) corporate governance research, and today are relatively well understood, less is known about internal governance of nonprofits and other civil society organizations (CSOs). Yet it is obvious that CSOs – with their nonprofit distribution constraint; their often ambiguous mission statements; complex “ownership” arrangements; complicated and multi-levelled formal organizational structures; and the often central role played by altruism, faith or ideology – differ substantially from for-profit corporations.

Our discussion takes as its theoretical point of departure the nature and character of the vertical organizational governance chain as understood in the classical Principal-Agent model, and points to the limitations of this, and two other related governance theories or models – the more vertical stewardship model and the stakeholder model ­– for the study of nonprofit governance. We propose instead that in the governance of a CSO’s activities, a unique combination of elements from all the three above theoretical models is at play, customed particularly to this organization’s unique traits. This “governance configuration” is determined primarily by two factors: the internal governance architecture of the organization, and the institutional environment in which the organization’s activities take place.

The presentation is based on a qualitative case study of the largest Swedish welfare-providing CSO, the Church of Sweden (Svenska kyrkan), and the mechanisms through which the parishes of the Church of Sweden govern their provision of welfare services.

Bios: Filip Wijkström earned his PhD at the Stockholm School of Economics (SSE) in 1998 and has since focused in his research and much of his teaching on civil society and nonprofit sector matters. After spending time as visiting faculty at University of Technology, Sydney (Australia), Wirtschaftsuniversität (Austria) and Trinity College, Dublin (Ireland), Dr. Wijkström also served as visiting professor at the Business School at Stockholm University and Ersta Sköndal Bräcke University Campus (Stockholm) before returning to a tenure at the Department of Management and Organization at SSE. 

In his research he focuses on civil society and its many modes of organizing. He is the founder and currently the Director of the Stockholm Center for Civil Studies at SSE, and with civil society the researchers at the center aim in their studies at the organized sphere in society where we find voluntary agencies, social movements, social enterprises, nonprofits, foundations, think tanks or other nonprofit sector actors. With a particular interest in governance matters and the welfare provided by civil society actors, special attention is paid to comparative approaches where the particular embeddedness and different national regimes are made explicit and explained. 

For more info please visit civilsociety.se or follow us and our research

Marta Reuter has a PhD in Political Science from Humboldt University Berlin. Her research focuses on civil society organizations as political actors and on their roles in societal governance, in Sweden and transnationally. Her research interests include also the relationship between civil society and the state, in Sweden as well as at a theoretical level. She teaches public administration at the Dept. of Political Science at Stockholm University, and is affiliated with the Stockholm Center for Civil Society Studies at the Stockholm School of Economics.

April 20

Kathy BabiakKathy Babiak, Associate professor, Sport Management, University of Michigan

"Does Team Ownership Affect Corporate Philanthropy in Professional Sport?"

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Abstract: Introduction: As one of the pillars of corporate social responsibility, corporate philanthropy (CP) is a vehicle for businesses to create a social impact in communities where their operations are located and to lever access to markets nationally and globally (Gautier & Pache, 2015). In the professional sport context, corporate philanthropy has experienced growth and increased focus via the formation of affiliated team charitable foundations (Babiak & Wolfe, 2009; Walters, 2009).

The emerging scholarly focus on CP in professional sport has examined its social and strategic value (Bingham & Walters, 2013; Inoue, Mahan & Kent, 2013; Ratten & Babiak, 2010). However, an overlooked aspect is the role and function played by CP influencers within firms—particularly organizational principals/owners (Galaskiewicz 1985; Gautier & Pache, 2015). Brammer, Millington and Pavelin (2006) found that top management plays a significant role in shaping the overall size of the philanthropic activities of most companies.

According to the upper echelons perspective, individual owners are more frugal and sensitive to the bottom line than agent/managers who might not have a financial stake in the firm (Lee, Sun & Moon, 2018). This perspective posits that individualized experiences, perspectives, values, and cognitions influence managerial and strategic choices such as CP (Hambrick & Mason, 1984; Hambrick, 2007).

Purpose: Using an upper echelons perspective, this study explores the relationship between ownership and the focus, impact and nature of CP in the professional sport context. In particular, our research questions examine observable individual characteristics of sport team owners using an upper echelons perspective to understand how age, education, career experience, and socioeconomic roots impact CP performance.

Methods: Time series panel data were collected from a variety of publicly available sources and compiled into a central database of 146 U.S. professional sport teams in the NBA, NFL, MLB, NHL, and MLS. Dependent variables include the level of corporate philanthropy derived from tax reporting data (2000–2016): revenues, expenditures, assets, mission/focus, and mode of social impact (categorized by charitable contributions to partners, program delivery, and/or infrastructure build). Independent variables include upper echelon attributes such as age, tenure as team owner, and educational/functional background. Moderating the relationship is the type of team ownership structure (individual, corporate, or partnership). Multi-level regression modeling will be conducted to examine associations between upper echelon attributes and the level of corporate philanthropy after adjusting for covariates (e.g., team performance and market size).

Discussion: CP is a unique phenomenon: while corporate leaders’ individual decisions determine firms’ philanthropic activities, their decisions are also partly shaped by organizational objectives and processes. Future research will explore these facets of this phenomenon. The results will provide valuable initial information on the directions and scope of CP efforts in professional sport and can offer managerial insights into effective and impactful CP delivery. These insights may be valuable to boards of directors and other CP managers in designing, structuring and executing CP in sport.

Bio: Dr. Babiak’s main line of research focuses on social responsibility and philanthropy in sport. She is the director of the Michigan Center for Sport and Social Responsibility. In this role, she works with a research team of global scholars whose work advances understanding of the role of sport organizations and business in society. Dr. Babiak’s research has examined the social impact of sport-based efforts from professional athletes, teams, leagues and team owners. Her research has explored the strategic factors motivating athletes and sport organizations to engage in pro-social behaviors, the structure and organization of these efforts, and the impact these initiatives have on the intended beneficiaries.

April 27

Debra MeschDebra Mesch, Professor, Eileen Lamb O’Gara Chair in Women’s Philanthropy

"Research on Gender and Philanthropy: Past, Present, and Future"

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Abstract: In 2008, when I was appointed as the director of the Women’s Philanthropy Institute, research on gender and philanthropy was in its infancy and we did not have a solid body of empirical research that addressed gender differences in philanthropic behavior. However, at that time, there was a wealth of literature from other disciplines—such as psychology, economics, sociology, biology, linguistics and communication, and marketing and management which could be relied upon to develop theories and frameworks with which to examine the philanthropic behavior of women and differences between men and women. This body of research indicates significant sex differences in attitudes and beliefs about caring and self-sacrifice, altruism and empathy, social reasoning, role-related norms and motives, and care and well-being of others. Because women are socialized differently than men from a very young age, suggesting that these behaviors are more highly developed in women than in men, the question arises, does this affect philanthropic behavior? This research presentation will revisit the early beginnings of research on gender and philanthropy, discuss the research that has been accomplished over the past decade, and suggest where this field will progress over the next decade.

Bio: Debra Mesch is professor of philanthropic studies at the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy at Indiana University and holds the Eileen Lamb O’Gara Chair in Women’s Philanthropy. Dr. Mesch was the director of the Women’s Philanthropy Institute (WPI) from 2008-2018. Her primary responsibility is to guide the research agenda on the role of gender in philanthropy. She and her colleagues have written numerous reports for the signature Women Give series about the factors that shape gender-based giving patterns—including age, religion, income, marital status and more—in order to increase understanding about how gender influences philanthropy. Professor Mesch received both her M.B.A. and Ph.D. in organizational behavior/human resource management from Indiana University Kelley School of Business.