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2017 Conference Recap

Posted By Fatima Hussain, Friday, December 29, 2017
Updated: Friday, December 29, 2017

Strengthening Local Communities:
The Role of Nonprofit and Philanthropic Organizations

Recap of the 2017 Annual ARNOVA Conference


The 46th Annual ARNOVA Conference in Grand Rapids, Michigan was the largest event in ARNOVA history.  With close to 1,000 participants it surpassed last year’s record in attendance.  Attendees came from all over the world and it was the first ARNOVA conference for 248 of our members.  The conference covered a wide scope of topics within philanthropy, through over 350 paper presentations, 60 poster presentations, 38 panels, and 40 colloquia.


2017 ARNOVA Poster Session


The multifaceted and interdisciplinary nature of philanthropy, nonprofit, and the voluntary sector was illustrated in the thorough research presented which spanned our thirteen tracks.  However, at the heart of this year’s conference was its theme, Strengthening Local Communities: The Role of Nonprofit and Philanthropic Organizations, which reminded us of the breadth and impact of philanthropic action and research. These ideas were explored in our opening and closing plenaries.


This year we also welcomed 16 undergraduate scholars who were a part of the new Undergraduate Diversity Scholars program proposed by the Diversity Committee and chaired by Cristina Balboa.


Additionally, The Alliance for Nonprofit Management (ANM) held its conference in conjunction with the ARNOVA conference. The ANM Annual Capacity Builder’s Conference is a one-of-a-kind, opportunity for capacity builders of every kind (consultants, program officers, researchers, professors, advisors, administrators etc.) to convene, dialogue, learn, shape and advance our field for the good of the nonprofits and communities. View the ANM Conference Recap here


Mini-Plenary Session – Race, Power, and Privilege: Where We’ve Been and Where We Need to Go


Following a day and a half of stimulating presentations and panels, attendees gathered for the 2017 Annual Awards Luncheon to recognize the accomplishments of the brilliant scholars and practitioners that we may call our colleagues and friends.


2017 ARNOVA Awards Luncheon


At the ARNOVA awards luncheon, we honored our retiring board members, Alan Abramson and Dwight Burlingame, for their service, and we commended some of the finest published work in the field with awards praising books, dissertations, and NVSQ articles. This luncheon, as well as the many receptions and sessions throughout the conference, were made possible by a number of generous sponsors.


Institutional Host Sponsors


Grand Valley State University

Dorothy A. Johnson Center for Philanthropy
School of Public, Nonprofit, and Health Administration

Conference Sponsors


American University School of Public Affairs

Amway Hotel Collection

Austin W. Marxe School of Public and International Affairs at Baruch College

Bush School, Texas A&M

Council of Michigan Foundations

Experience Grand Rapids

Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy

Islamic Relief USA

Nonprofit Academic Centers Council (NACC)

University of Notre Dame Mendoza College of Business

MPA Program, Oakland University

The Ohio State University

SAGE Publications

School of Public and Environmental Affairs, Indiana University Bloomington

School of Public and Environmental Affairs, IUPUI

University of Pennsylvania Nonprofit Leadership Program

Wayne State University

Zakat Foundation of America



The awardees at the 2017 ARNOVA Awards Luncheon are pictured below.


2017 ARNOVA Awardees


Outgoing President, Alan Abramson


Outgoing Treasurer, Dwight Burlingame

Best Paper Award: Jacqueline E. Ackerman, IU Lilly Family School of Philanthropy; Elizabeth J. Dale, Seattle University; Debra J. Mesch, Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis; Una Osili, Indiana University (not pictured); Silvia Garcia, IU Lilly Family School of Philanthropy (not pictured) for their paper, Giving to Women and Girls: An Unexamined Field of Philanthropy

RGK/ARNOVA President’s Award: Susan Appe, Binghamton University, SUNY and Allison Schnable, Indiana University, SPEA, Balancing the Professional with the Expressive: Organizational Learning and Grassroots International NGOs


University of Maryland Do Good Institute/ARNOVA Global Philanthropy & Nonprofit Leadership Award: Pamala Wiepking, Erasmus University – Rotterdam


Dugan Award on Philanthropic Impact: Alexandra Graddy-Reed, University of Southern California



Al-Subaie – ARNOVA Arab Philanthropy Award: Sabith Khan, California Lutheran University


Editor’s Prize for Best Scholarly Paper in Nonprofit Management and Leadership: Jiahuan Lu, Rutgers University - Newark, for his paper, The Philanthropic Consequence of Government Grants to Nonprofit Organizations: A Meta-Analysis


Gabriel G. Rudney Memorial Award for Outstanding Dissertation: Claire Dunning, Stanford University, for her paper, Outsourcing Government: Boston and the Rise of Public-Private Partnerships, 1949-Present

Peter Dobkin Hall History Prize: Bruce Kimball, The Ohio State University and Daniel R. Coquilette, Boston College, for their research, On the Battlefield of Merit, the First Century


Outstanding Article in Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly 2017: Floris Vermeulen, University of Amsterdam; Debra Minkoff, Columbia University; and Tom van der Meer, University of Amsterdam The Local Embedding of Community-Based Organizations


Best Reviewer for NVSQ: Marc Jegers, Vrije Universiteit – Brussel


ARNOVA Outstanding Best Book Award: Patricia Strach, University at Albany, State University of New York Hiding Politics in Plain Sight: Cause Marketing, Corporate Influence, and Breast Cancer Policymaking


Virginia Hodgkinson Prize: Chelsea Clinton, Clinton Foundation and Devi Sridhar, University of Edinburgh Governing Global Health: Who Runs the World and Why


Best Poster Award: "Does Nonprofit Research Differ? Lessons From A Systematic Mixed Methods Review," Daniela Schroeter, Western Michigan University



To celebrate the conclusion of a wonderful conference, we were treated to a vibrant reception at the Grand Rapids Art Museum which featured the iconic art of Andy Warhol.

At the reception, members were able to learn about Grand Valley State University’s Johnson Center and its effort to help advance the field of philanthropy and support the future generation of philanthropy scholars.  Subsequently, throughout the halls of the Grand Rapids Art Museum, ARNOVA and Alliance members were able to explore the Andy Warhol exhibits, mingle, laugh and enjoy the company of friends.


We continue to receive conference evaluations with positive feedback particularly regarding the positive atmosphere that you helped create. With your input and suggestions, we hope to improve the conference even further for next year.


The 47th Annual Conference in Austin, Texas will take place next November 15-17th.  Hard at work, the Conference Planning Committee is hoping to exceed our expectations, and we invite you to send input and suggestions to next year’s co-chairs, Mary Kay Gugerty, University of Washington, and Brenda Bushouse, University of Massachusetts. The local arrangements committee will be co-chaired by Moira Porter and Kelly Pratlett, RGK Center for Philanthropy & Community Service We hope to see all you fellow ARNOVANs next year with the same exuberance and warmth that cultivated a successful conference.

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