Spring 2022

February 8, 2022 -- Heather O’Connor

Challenge or Opportunity? A Discussion of Research on Women’s Pro-choice Philanthropy Conducted During COVID-19

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The pandemic and increased social unrest over the past two years have profoundly affected society, and the instability has impacted social science researchers as well. However, while the uncertainties brought increased challenges to academic research, they also created opportunities to shift and improve research design and analysis. In this session, I present a grounded theory study and discuss how the events of 2020 and 2021 influenced the research design, data collection, and analysis.

The study applies social identity theory to explore the philanthropic motivations and decision-making processes of Catholic women who donate to pro-choice organizations. Prior research demonstrates that donors are more likely to support individuals and groups with whom they identify. However, individuals hold multiple social identities simultaneously, and these identities may be experienced as incongruent. The study examines how incongruent identities inform philanthropic behavior by considering the experiences of Catholic women who identify as pro-choice donors and activists. Semi-structured interviews explored how participants’ religious beliefs and practices influenced their pro-choice philanthropy and vice versa. Findings revealed that participants shared a common process in their development—from children raised in conservative, pro-life Catholic households to adults identifying as pro-choice Catholic donors and activists. The timing of the study allowed for additional insight into how donors to women’s and girls’ causes reprioritized their philanthropic giving during the COVID-19 pandemic.


Heather O’Connor, Ph.D., is a visiting researcher and instructor at the Institute for Nonprofit Administration and Research at Louisiana State University and a research consultant for the Center on Philanthropy and Social Impact at the American College of Financial Services. Her research focuses on nonprofit sector theory and practice with emphasis on nonprofit marketing and communications, the professions of fundraising and philanthropic advising, and the role of identity in philanthropic behavior. Her dissertation research was recognized with the Debra Mesch Doctoral Fellowship for Research on Women’s Philanthropy at the IU Lilly Family School of Philanthropy.


Twitter @HeatherAOConnor

February 15, 2022 -- Leah Reisman

Strategizing for social good: How consulting shapes the nonprofit sector

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The use of consulting firms is widespread in the nonprofit sector. In the context of a dramatic global expansion of management consulting, a market valued in 2017 at more than $250 billion, a 2015 Foundation Center study found that one-third of surveyed foundations had used consultants in the prior two years. At all levels in the nonprofit sector--from grassroots organizations to multinational NGOs and major foundations--consultants craft ideas about and strategies for nonprofit and philanthropic practice via services like strategic planning and program assessment.

Drawing on two years of qualitative research with consultants, in this talk I will examine the day-to-day work of strategy consultants to nonprofits to show how consultants’ work processes and recommendations influence the nonprofit sector. Practitioners and academics alike often assume that consultants in the nonprofit sector deliver one-size-fits-all solutions across clients, a notion that stems from the example of highly-visible multinational consulting firms that consult primarily to corporations.

My analysis shows that in reality, consultants—especially small and medium-sized firms--go to great lengths to customize their work to their nonprofit clients’ particularities. I argue that consultants’ role in institutional fields cannot be reduced to agents of homogeneity or mere protagonists in the spread of standard corporate knowledge across fields, as current scholarship suggests. Instead, stemming from consultants’ positions between the for- and nonprofit sectors, their work is both customized to individual organizations’ needs and reinforces existing power dynamics and hierarchies in the nonprofit sector. In discussing these findings, I will highlight implications to improve nonprofit practice and our understanding of the sector at large.


Leah Reisman is a sociologist, ethnographer, and nonprofit leader. As a Research Fellow at New York University’s John Brademas Center, Leah is contributing to a Mellon Foundation-funded study of the relationship between arts engagement and social wellbeing in California, and a book project exploring art’s value in society. Leah conducts independent research as an Affiliate at Metris Arts Consulting, with clients including the Wallace Foundation, the Local Initiatives Support Coalition, and the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts. She is also an experienced nonprofit leader, serving as Health & Wellness Director at Puentes de Salud in Philadelphia and on the Board of Directors of Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens. Her quantitative and qualitative research on nonprofit strategy consulting, Philadelphia’s arts philanthropic ecosystem, cultural philanthropy in Mexico, and professionalization in arts nonprofits has been supported by the National Science Foundation, published in peer-reviewed academic journals, and featured in such publications as the Stanford Social Innovation Review, the Chronicle of Philanthropy, and the Center for Effective Philanthropy blog. Leah holds a B.A. in anthropology from the University of Chicago and a Ph.D. in sociology from Princeton University.

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February 22, 2022 -- Hahrie Han

Prisms of the People: Power and Organizing in 21st C. American Politics

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Book Description

Grassroots organizing and collective action have always been fundamental to American democracy but have been burgeoning since the 2016 election, as people struggle to make their voices heard in this moment of societal upheaval. Unfortunately much of that action has not had the kind of impact participants might want, especially among movements representing the poor and marginalized who often have the most at stake when it comes to rights and equality. Yet, some instances of collective action have succeeded. What’s the difference between a movement that wins victories for its constituents, and one that fails? What are the factors that make collective action powerful?

Prisms of the People addresses those questions and more. Using data from six movement organizations—including a coalition that organized a 104-day protest in Phoenix in 2010 and another that helped restore voting rights to the formerly incarcerated in Virginia—Hahrie Han, Elizabeth McKenna, and Michelle Oyakawa show that the power of successful movements most often is rooted in their ability to act as “prisms of the people,” turning participation into political power just as prisms transform white light into rainbows. Understanding the organizational design choices that shape the people, their leaders, and their strategies can help us understand how grassroots groups achieve their goals.

Linking strong scholarship to a deep understanding of the needs and outlook of activists, Prisms of the People is the perfect book for our moment—for understanding what’s happening and propelling it forward.


Hahrie Han is the Inaugural Director of the SNF Agora Institute, the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Professor of Political Science, and Faculty Director of the P3 Research Lab at Johns Hopkins University. She specializes in the study of organizing, movements, civic engagement, and democracy. Her newest book will be published by the University of Chicago Press in July 2021, entitled Prisms of the People: Power and Organizing in 21st Century America. She has previously published three books: How Organizations Develop Activists: Civic Associations and Leadership in the 21st Century; Groundbreakers: How Obama’s 2.2 Million Volunteers Transformed Campaigning in America; and, Moved to Action: Motivation, Participation, and Inequality in American Politics. Her award-winning work has been published in the American Political Science Review, American Sociological Review, American Journal of Sociology, Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), and numerous other outlets, including the New York Times, Washington Post, and elsewhere. She is currently working on a fifth book, to be published with Knopf (an imprint of Penguin Random House), about faith and race in America, with a particular focus on evangelical megachurches.



March 8, 2022 -- Gene Tempel

A Personal Perspective on Philanthropic Studies Research

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As a literature and philosophy major my understanding of research was very different from what was needed to build the theoretical frameworks and knowledge base for Philanthropic Studies. Then I encountered Wordsworth in a folklore seminar. I will discuss the approach and challenges of building both theoretical and practical approaches to philanthropic studies research, the disadvantage of being located away from the coasts, the importance of peer review and the origins of the School’s major research projects. I will end with a few musings on the possibility of returning to storytelling.


Professor Tempel has three decades of philanthropy leadership, administration and fundraising experience. He played an integral role in establishing the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy’s precursor, the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University, and served as the center’s executive director from 1997 through 2008, transforming it into a leading national resource and the world’s first school devoted to the study and teaching of philanthropy.

Committed to strengthening the philanthropic sector, Professor Tempel chaired the national Association of Fundraising Professionals’ Ethics Committee and served as a member of Independent Sector’s Expert Advisory Panel, which created national guidelines for nonprofit governance and ethical behavior. He is a past chair of the Indiana Commission on Community Service and Volunteerism. He has mentored many of the nation’s most successful executives in philanthropic fundraising.

Professor Tempel served as the Indiana University Foundation president between 2008 and 2012 before being named founding dean of the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy. Under his guidance, the foundation completed IU Bloomington's $1.1 billion Matching the Promise campaign, exceeding the goal by more than $40 million and launched and completed the $1.25 billion IMPACT campaign at IUPUI.. Despite a difficult economy, Indiana University recorded the second and third highest total voluntary support numbers during his tenure.

Tempel currently serves on the Board of Governors for the Riley Children’s Foundation and Antioch University. He provides pro bono consulting to the Sisters of St. Benedict of Ferdinand Indiana where he is Chair of the Executive Advisory Committee and to the Indiana Repertory Theatre where he chaired a recently completed capital campaign.

He earned a B.A. degree in English and philosophy from St. Benedict College, an M.A. in English, and a doctorate in higher education administration from Indiana University.

March 22, 2022 -- Joe Henrich

The Cultural Origins of Human Cooperation

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Humans are an ultrasocial species. However, several aspects of this sociality are not easily explained by the canonical approaches found in evolutionary biology, psychology, or economics. Understanding our unique social psychology requires not only accounting for the breadth and intensity of human cooperation but also for the variation found across societies, over history and among behavioral domains (within societies). Here, we introduce an expanded evolutionary approach that considers how genetic and cultural evolution, as well as their interaction, may have shaped both the reliably developing features of our minds and the well-documented differences in cultural psychologies around the globe. We review the major evolutionary mechanisms that have been proposed to explain human cooperation, including kinship, reciprocity (partner choice), reputation, signaling and punishment, discuss key culture-gene coevolutionary hypotheses, such as those surrounding self-domestication and norm psychology, and consider the role of religions, rituals and marriage systems. Empirically, we bring together experimental, observational, and anthropological evidence from studies of children and adults from diverse societies and from non-human primates.


Dr. Henrich is currently a Harvard Professor and Chair of the Department of Human Evolutionary Biology. Before moving to Harvard, he was a professor of both Economics and Psychology at the University of British Columbia for nearly a decade, where he held the Canada Research Chair in Culture, Cognition and Coevolution. In 2013-14, Dr. Henrich held the Peter and Charlotte Schoenenfeld Faculty Fellowship at NYU’s Stern School of Business. His research deploys evolutionary theory to understand how human psychology gives rise to cultural evolution and how this has shaped our species’ genetic evolution. Using insights generated from this approach, Professor Henrich has explored a variety of topics, including economic decision-making, social norms, fairness, religion, marriage, prestige, cooperation and innovation. He’s conducted long-term anthropological fieldwork in Peru, Chile and in the South Pacific, as well as having spearheaded several large comparative projects. In 2016, he published The Secret of Our Success (Princeton) and in 2020, The WEIRDest People in the World: How the West became psychologically peculiar and particularly prosperous (FSG).

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March 29, 2022 -- Mary Hyde

AmeriCorps and the Non-Profit Sector: Increasing Equity, Evidence and Innovation

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The relationship between AmeriCorps and the non-profit sector has been empirically examined from a number of different perspectives over the years. This presentation will provide a brief overview of the existing body of research and will highlight anticipated lines of inquiry reflected in the agency's forthcoming FY22-26 learning agenda. Given the Biden/Harris Administration's focus on equity and evidence, particular attention will be paid to anticipated research on more equitable access to AmeriCorps resources.

Short Bio

Dr. Hyde is a community psychologist with more than 20 years of research, evaluation, technical assistance, and training experience in social and human services. At AmeriCorps she is responsible for advancing the evidence base for national service programs, sponsoring scholarship on volunteering and other forms of civic engagement, as well as fostering a culture of evaluative thinking within the agency and the field. Prior to joining AmeriCorps, Dr. Hyde worked in the private sector and was responsible for a portfolio of projects related to strengthening families and communities. Dr. Hyde developed her unique skill set by directing and managing both national and local program evaluations. The primary focus of Dr. Hyde’s evaluation practice has been community- and school-based programs designed to prevent delinquency and school drop-out and promote social and academic success among urban youth. Dr. Hyde has also conducted research in the areas of welfare-reform policy. Finally, Dr. Hyde has facilitated community-driven research processes, one of which resulted in the identification of Neighborhood Action and Sense of Community indicators that are now part of a permanent community indicators project in Baltimore known as Vital Signs.

April 12, 2022 -- Ji Ma

Nonprofit studies in many languages: A preliminary study of English and Chinese

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Language creates natural barriers between human societies and shapes different cultures. The landscape of nonprofit and philanthropic studies in non-English languages is uncharted and in the way of pursuing global civil society. What are the shared research interests and scholarship between different linguistic communities? Why some articles written in one language are more likely to be cited in another? This project 1) describes the shared topics between English and Chinese scholarship on nonprofit and philanthropy and 2) explores the citation patterns between the two academic communities from five aspects: rationale of scholarship, contribution to research paradigm, research relevance, social network, and reputation. The English articles that are popular in Chinese journals tend to: 1) focus on instrumentality but not moral values, 2) develop existing paradigms instead of disrupting, 3) be relevant to Chinese research topics, 4) have authors scholarly connected to Chinese community, and 5) be popular references across different languages. As a stimulus for future studies examining other languages, theoretical and methodological implications are discussed.


Ji Ma is an assistant professor in nonprofit and philanthropic studies at the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin. He studies and teaches state-society relationship, sociology of knowledge, and computational social science methods from the perspectives of nonprofit and philanthropy.

Pronouns: he/him/his





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