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2018 ARNOVA Conference Recap

Posted By Fatima Hussain, Friday, December 20, 2019
Updated: Thursday, December 20, 2018


From Relief to Resilience: How Philanthropy, Nonprofits and Volunteers Bridge the Gap between Crisis and Sustainability


 See Special Session Recordings and ARNOVATalks Video Podcasts from the 2018 Conference



The 47th Annual ARNOVA Conference in Austin, Texas saw attendees from all over the world and was the first ARNOVA conference for 220 of our 870 attendees! The conference covered a wide scope of topics within philanthropy, through over 390 paper presentations, 45 poster presentations, 36 panels, and 41 colloquia.


2018 ARNOVA Conference Exhibitors 


The multifaceted and interdisciplinary nature of philanthropy, nonprofit, and the voluntary sector was illustrated in the thorough research presented through all our sessions and presentations. However, at the heart of this year’s conference was its theme - From Relief to Resilience: How Philanthropy, Nonprofits and Volunteers Bridge the Gap between Crisis and Sustainability - which reminded us of the breadth and impact of philanthropic action and research. These ideas were explored deeper in both plenaries.

This year, we also celebrated 10 years of our Graduate Diversity Scholars program pioneered by Pier Rogers, Jennifer Wade-Berg, and Judy Weiseinger.


Board Member John Ronquillo with Pier Rogers and Jennifer Wade-Berg 


Following a day and a half of stimulating presentations and panels, attendees gathered for the 2018 Annual Awards Luncheon to recognize the accomplishments of the brilliant scholars and practitioners that we may call our colleagues and friends.


Friday Awards Ceremony 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. 


2018 Award Recipients  |  Photos


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


Bush School, Texas A&M University

Center for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Leadership at Rice University

OneStar Foundation

RGK Center for Philanthropy and Community Service, LBJ School, UT Austin

The University of Texas at San Antonio Department of Public Administration

University of Nebraska at Omaha School of Public Administration

Conference Sponsors


American University School of Public Affairs
Austin W. Marxe School of Public and International Affairs at Baruch College
College of Public Affairs , University of Baltimore
Evans School of Public Policy & Governance, University of Washington
Framelogic Audio Visual Services
Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy
Intuitive Solutions, A Global People > ProfitSM Company
Islamic Relief USA
SAGE Publications
School of Public and Environmental Affairs, Indiana University Bloomington
School of Public and Environmental Affairs at Indiana University Purdue University
The Department of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Arlington
The Ohio State University John Glenn College of Public Affairs
University of Notre Dame Mendoza College of Business
Zakat Foundation of America



If you attended the conference and want to share your thoughts, please remember to complete the conference evaluation before the end of the year! 


Follow the #ARNOVA18 hashtag on Twitter to see what attendees had to say and learn more about this year's conference - and be sure to follow us on Facebook to see more photos. We hope to see you next year for one of our many upcoming conferences




 See Special Session Recordings and ARNOVATalks Video Podcasts from the 2018 Conference







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Remarks from Evelyn Brody, Recipient of Distinguished Achievement Award

Posted By Fatima Hussain, Wednesday, December 5, 2018

2018 ARNOVA Distinguished Achievement in Leadership and Nonprofit and Voluntary Action Research Award


From the Association for Research on Nonprofit Organizations and Voluntary Action (ARNOVA)

Annual Conference Luncheon Plenary Session

November 15, 2018


Thank you so much, Dana [Brakman Reiser], for your gracious introduction and recitation of my contributions to the field of nonprofit studies.

I still haven’t gotten over the news that ARNOVA is granting me this prestigious award – but I had no idea until ARNOVA published the conference schedule that many of my colleagues organized panels reviewing my scholarship and other activities in helping build the field of nonprofit law.  As I contemplated the out-of-body experience I’m having here, it came home to me the truth of the sentiment that no accomplish is singular – that we collectively inform and inspire each other’s work.  I simply cannot imagine my professional career without my membership in ARNOVA.  Because I literally “could not have done it without you,” I gratefully accept this award from ARNOVA as a tribute to ARNOVA.

I joined a law school faculty in 1992 after practicing law and serving as an attorney-adviser in the Office of Tax Policy at the U.S. Treasury Department.  So at the start I very much considered myself a pracademic.  I quickly appreciated that I was catching the wave of an emerging academic field, combining multiple strands of law and multiple disciplines beyond law.  I sought out the precious few nonprofit-law experts in the legal academy – Harvey Dale, John Simon, Joel Fleishman, Henry Hansmann, Marion Fremont-Smith, and Laura Chisolm – and am grateful for their mentorship.

But I quickly realized that nonprofit law does not exist in an academic vacuum, and, honestly, dumb luck blessed much of my early scholarly development.  Most fortuitously, the Program on Non-Profit Organizations at Yale University had recently published the groundbreaking multidisciplinary nonprofit scholarship volume The Nonprofit Sector: A Research Handbook.  As a non-PhD, I taught myself the state-of-the-art scholarship in each of the component fields by reading every chapter and every article cited in every chapter.

And then I found ARNOVA.  At my first conference, in NYC in 1994, I felt like I’d entered Aladdin’s Cave – so many glittering jewels!  So many eminent scholars, in a profusion of academic disciplines, all doing foundational research in enhancing our understanding of nonprofit organizations and their stakeholders.  Professionally, I felt that I’d finally come home.  This year would be my 25th consecutive ARNOVA conference, except I missed 2014, when my mother-in-law died two days prior.  I’ve been delighted to give back to the Association, including having the honor of being elected to two terms on the ARNOVA board.

To all the early scholars out there, I encourage you to make as much use as possible of your membership in this extraordinary community.  In your search for assistance, collaborators, guidance, and mentors, you will find, as I did, that altruism is not only studied by ARNOVAns, but also is actively practiced.  It’s easy to make connections at these annual conferences – just don’t stop there.  After you introduce yourself to scholars and practitioners you admire, ask if you can send them your drafts.  Allow your scholarly agenda to flow in serendipitous directions – and be grateful when luck brings you an unexpected project.  My big early break came in 1995, when I was invited to be a discussant at a conference at Yale, at the suggestion (I later learned) of an economist to whom I’d sent a draft paper (thank you, Avner Ben-Ner!).  When I read the agenda for that conference, my reaction was that I recognized every name but my own!  Perhaps you too will find yourself working with other ARNOVAns on multi-disciplinary projects that expand your own discipline’s understanding of important questions.

My collaborations with non-legal ARNOVAns allowed for fruitful scholarship, in both directions.  To my delight, for example, I explored all the various dimensions of property-tax exemption for charities, not by pretending to be what I am not trained to be, but rather by editing a book whose chapters were written by my dream team of leading scholars in their fields (including our too-soon lost colleagues Peter Dobkin Hall and Woods Bowman).  This was the first of many scholarly collaborations with the Urban Institute – thank you, Elizabeth Boris, Gene Steuerle, and Joe Cordes!  Separately, when ARNOVA recently met in Chicago, Dana Brakman Reiser and I co-organized a symposium at my law school on charity regulation around the world, taking advantage of the attendance at ARNOVA of legal scholars from outside the United States.

In turn, I was thrilled to be invited to contribute chapters to books edited by non-legal ARNOVAns Put Barber; Elizabeth Boris and Gene Steuerle; Gene Steuerle and Joe Cordes; Lester Salamon; Helmut Anheier and Avner Ben-Ner; and Dwight Burlingame.   My scholarship was greatly informed by fellow chapter writers Alan Abramson, Joe Galaskowitz, Kirsten Gronberg, David Hammack, Francie Ostrower, Steve Smith, and Dennis Young, among many others.  Without ARNOVA, I never would have become known to the editors of the second edition of The Nonprofit Sector: A Research Handbook: My contribution was a new chapter on, basically, “laws other than tax’” which complements the classic chapter on tax-exemption.  Imagine that: from a newbie acolyte of the first edition to a chapter author in the second!  (Thank you, Woody Powell and Rich Steinberg!)

When I first joined ARNOVA, the membership included few legal academics–- now we fill more than one table at lunch, and multiple panels.  We so appreciate your providing an annual forum for an expanding international group to explore the disparate legal subdisciplines that collectively constitute “nonprofit law.”  Tax, corporate, trust, and constitutional lawyers get lost in their own professional associations and conferences.  Our panels at ARNOVA have given us collaborative opportunities to present drafts of book chapters and symposium articles – including the panel this morning of chapters from the new comprehensive international “Research Handbook on Not-for-Profit Law” edited by the University of Melbourne’s Matthew Harding.  But there’s a price to pay: It’s getting hard at ARNOVA meetings to keep up with my old favorite economists, historians, sociologists and political scientists, and hearing from new ones!

Most gratifyingly, while I do not have the pleasure of mentoring graduate students, I am still blessed with progeny!  I am profoundly moved to see in this room so many legal scholars whose career I had the joy of nurturing.  My hat’s off to Dana Brakman Reiser, Debra Morris, Oonagh Breen, Rob Katz, Adam Parachin, Lloyd Mayer, and Johnny Rex Buckles – so quickly grown up!  The lively and exciting field of nonprofit legal scholarship is in excellent hands.  In the coming days, you’ll be able to hear from these and more senior legal scholars – Mark Sidel, Norm Silber, John Tyler, Linda Sugin, and Terri Lynn Helge – my apologies for not having the time to name all of you!

Finally, I share this award with my husband, Jack Siegel (who is here giving me moral support today).  Without Jack’s inestimable substantive counsel and unfailing support for the pressures of academe, my accomplishments would not have been possible.

The honor I receive today from ARNOVA is the capstone of my academic career.  To my many dear friends here – giants on whose shoulders I stand; peers; and emerging scholars in the study of nonprofits – I say thank you for the opportunity to say “thank you.”  Thank you with all my heart.

I will be retiring from Chicago-Kent College of Law after teaching Income Tax Law one last time this spring – allowing me to devote myself full-time to a different creative endeavor.  In the last few years, I’ve returned to my childhood love for drawing and painting.  It’s been fun as well as challenging to start over near the bottom of the learning curve – and I’ve been fortunate to find another welcoming community of teachers and like-minded students.  To my amazement and delight, my pastels have been juried into local and national shows and won awards – and, as we speak, my first solo show is hanging in a Chicago gallery.  Let me leave you with a few images of pieces from that show.

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ARNOVA 2019: What to Expect in Austin

Posted By Fatima Hussain, Wednesday, October 31, 2018

What to Expect 

in Austin, Texas

during #ARNOVA18!


We look forward to hosting you for the 47th Annual ARNOVA Conference 
in Austin, Texas from November 15-17, 2018


 Attend the special events and receptions during the conference

 Check out the Local Arrangement Committee's Recommendations on Things To Do in Austin

 Still need accommodations? Check out the Hotel Room Sharing Forum

Plan your conference schedule and review the food & beverage offered at this year's conference


ARNOVATalks: Schedule a recording session during the ARNOVA Conference!




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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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A Special Appeal from ARNOVA Member, Jodi Benenson

Posted By Administration, Thursday, December 28, 2017




Dear members,

This letter is different from other plea letters. This letter is the result of the combined authorship of the entire Early Scholars Section (ESS) leadership team. This is our chance to tell you the story of ESS and why you should give to ARNOVA.

ESS is in all ways an ARNOVA grassroots achievement. ESS began during the 2013 Diversity Scholars Program among a handful of Diversity Scholars who wanted to expand the support and insight they received from the dedicated faculty of ARNOVA’s membership to all early and emerging scholars. Beginning as a greatly supported Common Interest Group, ESS, with its broad definition of an early scholar, was approved by the ARNOVA Board in 2015. ARNOVA’s staff and leadership were supportive all throughout the process. It was because of their engagement with us as emerging scholars and their commitment to our future success that in the last two years, ESS has successfully built its program of support to emerging scholars within ARNOVA’s membership.

ESS’ role is unique to ARNOVA in that it is the landing pad for those new to the association and the incubator for future scholars to connect. ESS is where meaningful connections are made and careers can get started. One of the more popular and established programming events is the ESS webinar series. ESS provides two webinars a year free to all ARNOVA members on relevant topics brought forward by emerging scholars such as “How to be A Productive Early Scholar” and “Marketing Yourself: Multiple Perspectives on the Job Search.” Without ARNOVA, the topics we present would be costly through for-profit/consulting sources. ARNOVA’s staff and leadership continue to be enthusiastic champions of our work and have gone above and beyond to help us institutionalize this professional development program.

ESS also fosters connections through innovative events such as the ARNOVA conference ESS Buddy Program. For 2017, we paired scholars and more convention-savvy ESS members with new attendees. Each buddy received a gift card take their conference novice to coffee. We started the Buddy Program at conferences to ensure a warm welcome to new attendees, and that all emerging scholars can find people and groups with which to connect, thereby enhancing our research, careers, and social lives.

As our ESS Buddies and research attest, mentorship, networking, and positive experiences support the career aspirations of emerging scholars. ARNOVA takes the lead in investing in tomorrow’s leaders in nonprofit scholarship, and it is now time to invest in ARNOVA and its early scholars. Join the Early Scholars Section in supporting ARNOVA. Your donation is tax-deductible and can be made online at and clicking ‘Donate’.

Early scholars count on you to continue the future of vital nonprofit research, scholarship, and community. Every dollar, large or small, makes a difference.

With sincerest gratitude,

Jodi Benenson

Jodi Benenson, Chair of the ARNOVA Early Scholars Section, and The Early Scholars Section Leadership Team


Kate Albrecht, Vice Chair

Sara Neyer, Secretary

Maria Wathen, Treasurer

Mirae Kim, Member-At-Large

Jamie Levine Daniel, Member-At-Large

Robert Ressler, Member-At-Large

P.S. To make your gift in honor or memory of someone, please indicate it in the ‘Donor Comments’ field online.

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A Special Appeal from ARNOVA Member, Khaldoun AbouAssi

Posted By Administration, Thursday, December 28, 2017




Dear members,


I am writing to request your support for ARNOVA through a tax-deductible contribution. Your contribution provides ARNOVA with the resources to support emerging scholars in the field and fund travel scholarships to the Annual Conference.

I am often asked: What does ARNOVA do? Since joining ARNOVA, it has been an important part of my professional life. I have attended the ARNOVA conference since 2008, and I have also had the privilege to publish in the Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, the official journal of ARNOVA. I invite you to visit ARNOVA’s website to learn more about the wide range of awards, scholarships and professional development opportunities that ARNOVA offers to its members and leaders in nonprofit research and practice. That is what I did when I joined ARNOVA about a decade ago as a doctoral student. And believe me, ARNOVA is now offering far more opportunities, appealing to the diverse interests and needs of its members. This can only continue with your support.

Some would describe ARNOVA as a community of nonprofit scholars and practitioners. However, ARNOVA is not only a forum where we come to present our research and get feedback on our papers or ideas. I am committed to ARNOVA because of the scholarships and opportunities it provides, and also because of the relationships and friendships I have developed as a result of this engagement. It is that feeling of ‘belonging;’ ARNOVA feels like a second home, where I personally have found support, both on a professional and personal level.

We have come so far, but we have a long way to go. As ARNOVA embarks on a new strategic plan in which diversity and inclusion are front and center, we have a mission to continue to serve our current and future members, ensuring that everyone feels welcome and has a voice. Towards this end, ARNOVA launched a new initiative to host a group of undergraduate students from underrepresented communities to join our 2017 conference in Grand Rapids. We were fortunate to have this group of exceptional young scholars with us as much as they were excited about the opportunity. This initiative illustrates ARNOVA’s vision of building an inclusive association that can continue to build a pipeline of scholars for our field.

It is because I believe in, and I am committed to, that vision that I am writing to you now to join me in supporting ARNOVA. You can do that in two ways. First, you can volunteer. I have been volunteering for ARNOVA since I joined. I am honored to be serving our members on the Board of Directors. In addition, I chair the Committees on Diversity and Emerging Scholars Professional Development. I also previously served as a conference track chair and on the Theory, Issues and Boundaries Section’s executive committee. By volunteering my time, these roles are among the ways that I give back to ARNOVA.  I invite you to sign up to volunteer and take leadership of one of ARNOVA’s many initiatives. 

You can also donate. ARNOVA can do so much for its members. Not all of us come from programs or institutions that can provide the financial support needed to attend our conferences.  That is why ARNOVA has dramatically increased the number of scholarships and diversity scholars, and has funded professional development programs over the past four years—all through your support. This year, ARNOVA provided financial assistance or funded professional development programs for over 150 of our colleagues. This can only happen because of generous tax-deductible contributions by members like you.

I am committed to helping ARNOVA provide others the same opportunities that I benefited from, and that had a positive impact on my career and life. We are fortunate; let us work together to create similar fortunate opportunities for new and emerging scholars to be involved with ARNOVA and connect with us. Help them attend our conference, participate in our professional development programs, and, most importantly, further knowledge in our field. Let us work together to renew our commitment to diversity and inclusion through investing in the future of nonprofit studies, research, and practice.

If every member makes a donation - whether it’s $20 or $200 - we can do more. You may designate your gift to support specialized funds to help new scholars and members who need travel assistance, or you may simply donate to the general fund. Donations are tax-deductible and may be charged to your Visa, MasterCard, or Discover card by going online at and clicking Donate. You may also donate by mailing a check to ARNOVA at 441 West Michigan St, Indianapolis, IN 46202.

In the name of the many, I thank you.



Khaldoun AbouAssi

American University

P.S. To make your gift in honor or memory of someone, please indicate it in the ‘Donor Comments’ field online.

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Remarks from David Renz, Recipient of Distinguished Achievement Award

Posted By Administration, Thursday, December 28, 2017


Acceptance Speech of David Renz

On Receipt of the


2017 ARNOVA Distinguished Achievement in Leadership and Nonprofit

and Voluntary Action Research Award


From the Association for Research on Nonprofit Organizations and Voluntary Action (ARNOVA)

Annual Conference Luncheon Plenary Session

November 16, 2017


What an honor it is to be standing before you to receive this award.  Thank you for your warm response!  It is indeed a privilege to be included in the company of the people who have received this exceptional award!  I am delighted but a bit surprised to receive an award of this significance for what I’ve been doing, because I’ve really just been trying to join all of you in making a difference in this field – but I certainly do appreciate it!  The truth is, the work I’ve been doing and whatever success I’ve experienced throughout my career reflect the good fortune of having an incredible network of colleagues, collaborators, and partners with whom to work.  Many of you have studied and written of the power and significance of networks.  Frankly, that is exemplified in what it is we experience and have as the power of ARNOVA, and it’s phenomenal in the ways it’s helped me in my career.  A large share of my professional and career progress derives from the connections of those networks that have all started here, which is my scholarly home.  So I want to thank all of you for making this possible! 


ARNOVA is a community – a community of scholars, to be sure, but a rather unique scholarly community, because ARNOVA’s members truly appreciate, believe in and are committed to understanding and strengthening the power of voluntarism, philanthropy, civil society, social action, and the nonprofit sector.   One of the things I’ve always valued about working with you -- all of you in this room -- is that the people who are in this actually care.  Beyond making civil society the subject of your research (although you do that well), the people here are making a difference in all sorts of ways. 


I am really indebted to so many of you – colleagues, friends, collaborators and partners – for your support and encouragement, for your challenging and prodding, and for your friendship.  There are many to whom I am indebted for this support.  First and foremost, as many of you certainly know (and some of you may have cited), is my long-time research and writing partner, Bob Herman.  Some people have told me they think the words “Herman and Renz” were trademarked and had to go together – and that’s sort of true!  How exceptional is it to find a colleague with whom you share so many interests and perspectives?  Our partnership was such a natural!  Both our backgrounds were organizational studies, we’re both interested in public service, we both had an interest in connecting with communities and doing community work as well as scholarly work – it’s just phenomenal when you have a faculty partner whose interests are so similar.  For all of our nearly identical interests, though, I will admit that some have told me they looked at Bob and me as a bit of comic relief.  (For those of you who do not know it, Bob is a bit taller than I – so whenever we showed up together, I have to admit, it was something of a “Mutt and Jeff” scenario.)


And, I have to say, I owe much to our talented team of colleagues at the Midwest Center for Nonprofit Leadership and our Department of Public Affairs at UMKC – notably Mark Culver, Cindy Laufer, Brent Never and, especially, Scott Helm, with whom I’ve created so many programs and initiatives, especially in the area of social entrepreneurship.  And along the way, it’s been a great privilege to work with doctoral students who have become valued colleagues and research partners – folks like Fredrik Andersson, Erin Nelson, Jurgen Willems.  To this day I have the privilege of continuing to work with them. 


Another delightful community of colleagues with whom I’ve worked for about 20 years (I am a bit shocked it’s been this long!) is the network of the Nonprofit Academic Centers Council – an incredible network of academic entrepreneurs from the ARNOVA world and beyond who have helped expand and sustain the scope of our research and teaching but, equally important, many of these centers have created vehicles for engaging and serving communities and their leaders across the US and many other parts of the world – part of that work of blending, boundary spanning, and connecting.


I’ve been especially passionate about and motivated to work to bridge the world of academe – of well-grounded scholarship and theory – and the world of practice.  I care a lot about helping to support our nonprofit communities’ leaders as they do their work, and I’ve tried to maintain a balance of writing for both the scholarly and practice worlds.  I’ve often been offered platforms for this work by the leaders of the Alliance for Nonprofit Management, the association whose annual conference is again blended with this year’s ARNOVA conference – and a key partner in crime for this work has been Ruth McCambridge of the Nonprofit Quarterly, with whom and for whom I’ve had the privilege of writing a number of articles for the practice community. 


And last and certainly most important: I have to express my gratitude and appreciation to my love and partner in life, my wife, Sandy Renz.  As those of you who know me can attest, she clearly must be a saint to put up with all of the complications I bring to one’s life; trying to bring balance to our world and a semblance of sanity to our family life!


I have had the opportunity to watch the world of nonprofit and philanthropic studies grow and develop in a variety of fascinating and often delightful ways during my career.  It’ been a great ride for us as we have grown to become an increasingly legitimate and widely-accepted field.  In so many ways, the field is stronger than ever, with high levels of credibility, acceptance, and support in the academy.  Many indicators reflect that our efforts to develop both substance and legitimacy are bearing fruit, and this is great.  We and our work are more accepted and even embraced in the larger academic environment, and it’s fun to see so many institutions actively seeking out and investing in the field of nonprofit and philanthropic studies. 


That said, with this new level of legitimacy “inside,” I see a critical need to explain what we do to the larger world, especially beyond the academic world, if we are to realize what most of us truly value about our field and our work.  We cannot afford to become self-absorbed in the academic as we continue to develop our work – there’s too much at stake in the larger world!


I am concerned, for example, that we (like all in the academic world) need to do more to build bridges to link the world of higher education with the rest of society and our communities.  Like many of you, I was taken aback by the turn of last year’s elections.  It is clearer than ever, to me, that we need to develop or renew the legitimacy and credibility of our institutions with the people of the communities we serve as we counteract the perceptions of elitism that pervade much of our national discourse and polarize peoples’ response to our work.   We are uniquely well-positioned to do this given the foci of our work in communities but, ironically, the process of sustaining and enhancing our legitimacy inside the academy can interfere with investing time and energy in doing so.  We need to sustain and expand our connections with the grassroots of our communities and the practice world, and exemplify how our work as educators and scholars offers unique value in support of all people.


Further, we have some detractors who misunderstand the purpose and nature of what we do and advocate.  They worry (and argue) that we are stealing the soul and meaning of voluntarism, philanthropy, and the work of the nonprofit sector.  They’re pointing at people like me – educators who are trying to improve the sophistication and professional capacity of nonprofit leaders and managers.  They misunderstand, but their warnings have some significance, and we are well advised to take these kinds of disconnects seriously and work to share and explain our work and intentions more fully and effectively in our communities.


I think the next generation of nonprofit development is going to be fascinating, because the sector is going to change in significant ways as we address the implications of the redefinition of governmental functions and roles that currently is underway in the US and many other nations of the world.  As the role and even legitimacy of governmental work continues to shift, we need to be ready to support the sector and even facilitate a productive response to the new demands that will be put on the sector. 


At this fascinating time in the evolution of civil society, we have competing tensions to address, and more will come.  Similar to many ethical conundrums, we’re increasingly going to be pushed to reconcile inconsistent competing principles and we need to be ready.  To a large degree, the choices are not good options versus bad options – they are good versus good.  We need to clarify where we stand and what we value as a professional community – to know what we stand for, clarify what is at stake as conditions change, be honest and reflective, and work together as a community to do our best to serve authentically and openly.  And one of the greatest challenges is that, as each of us works to sustain and enhance our credibility and position in the scholarly world (including the pressures of securing tenure and sustaining funding for our work), we get pulled further and further way from the world that is at the heart of what we as a field developed to support. 


I am proud to say that ARNOVA, and those of us who are its members, are at the core of the work to understand, embrace, and tackle these tensions.  Together, supporting and encouraging each other, we have the capacity to strengthen civil society in ways that also continue to advance the field and our work. 


It is such a privilege to work with all of you to define, understand, explore and embrace these challenges and opportunities.  I can’t tell you how much I appreciate the acknowledgement this award confers.  I look forward to my continued work with you as we all continue to develop, individually and as a field.  Thank you very much!


David Renz

November 16, 2017

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Letter from the President

Posted By Mary Tschirhart, Wednesday, December 27, 2017



Dear ARNOVA Members,


I am happy to report that it has been a year of accomplishments for ARNOVA. Not only did we have the greatest attendance ever at a conference, we advanced the mission of ARNOVA through new and enhanced programming and services to members. We supported member-led initiatives and added opportunities for member involvement. Here’s a list of just a few of the highlights of the year. 

  • The board approved a strategic plan in which diversity and inclusion are front and center. We are engaged in ongoing conversations to enhance our understanding of our diverse members so that we can continue to inform the plan and guide its implementation. This includes but is not limited to the membership survey which many of you completed. 
  • We added new awards and conference scholarships to our suite of resources for members, with gratitude to our donors for providing the funding for this. For example, this year we launched the Undergraduate Diversity Scholars Program with the purpose of further encouraging a pipeline of nonprofit research from underrepresented groups. 
  • As part of our initiative to improve our policy manual and the transparency of our procedures, we are in the process of redesigning our award processes and award committee structure. The manual revision helps ensure wide membership participation in award and other decisions and presents new avenues for volunteering.     
  • We welcomed a new section, more common interest groups, and a new conference track to our mix. For example, we now have the Public Policy, Politics and Law Section and a new track on civil society. 
  • We offered our first ever ARNOVA-Asia conference and its very apparent popularity led us to begin planning a 2018 conference in Hong Kong.     
  • We worked with the Association for Research on Civil Society in Africa (AROCSA) on an ARNOVA-Africa conference in South Africa and were pleased to see how much AROCSA has grown in its short time as an association. Next year’s conference is in Cairo and I hope to see some of you there.   
  • All our ongoing and new partnerships continue to bring benefits to members. For example, the Alliance for Nonprofit Management’s presence at our conference complemented our ARNOVA sessions discussing research to practice and vice versa. Our 2017 collaboration with Independent Sector brought our Symposium on Public Policy and Nonprofits to new audiences. 
  • The membership approved a code of ethics which lays out our association’s values and practices. Inspired by the code, and the suggestions of our Diversity Committee, we sought to make the conference more inclusive. For example, we provided gender neutral bathrooms and pronoun ribbons and are reviewing member feedback and suggestions to find more ways to support all our members as they participate in ARNOVA activities. We have some member feedback on our Austin location and will be reporting to you on our plans for that conference. 
  • NVSQ continues to be a top-ranked journal with 2017 bringing a higher impact factor and new initiatives from our editorial team to enhance its features and reach. Thank you Chao, Susan and Angela and the many others who contribute to NVSQ’s high quality. 


We had some important changes in our leadership this year. Shariq Siddiqui, our intrepid executive director, led a staff reorganization that resulted in hiring two new staff members, Holly Titus as our first ever associate director and Gloria Worstell as the new membership secretary. The membership chose a president-elect who will succeed me at the end of the 2018 conference, Angela Eikenberry, and a new treasurer, Thad Calabrese; both have now joined our hard-working board. As their terms ended, we had to say goodbye and give our thanks for their valued service to Alan Abramson and Dwight Burlingame.         


None of this year’s accomplishments would have been possible without the engagement of our individual and institutional members and supporters. We have had amazing volunteer and financial support this year. Shariq and his staff’s dedication to bringing all our energy and ideas together has been critical to our successes. I look forward to working with all of you in the year to come.


Wishing you a very happy holiday season and New Year,


Mary Tschirhart, The Ohio State University

ARNOVA President 

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ARNOVA Visits Grand Rapids, Michigan

Posted By Allison Lynch, Tuesday, May 30, 2017
Updated: Tuesday, May 30, 2017



We look forward to hosting you at the 46th Annual ARNOVA Conference held in Grand Rapids, Michigan this year!

There are many fun and exciting things to do and see in Grand Rapids including:


Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park

Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum

Grand rapids Children’s Museum

Grand Rapids Public Museum

Urban Institute of Contemporary Arts

• And many more!



Lighthouses: Michigan has more lighthouses than any other state - and many of them line the Lake Michigan coast, just a short drive from Grand Rapids



Other Activities

• John Ball Zoo

• Downtown Market

• Gun Lake Casino


If you are looking for things to do within walking distance of the hotel, there are many different options!


While the conference does take place in the winter, there are still many fun things to do in Grand Rapids, including:

• Fishing

• Ice Skating

• Sledding

• Skiing

Indoor Market 


Be sure to book your conference hotel at the discounted ARNOVA Conference rate before they sell out! For more information on traveling to/throughout Grand Rapids, click here




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Nonprofits, Philanthropy & Government: Recap of the 2016 Annual Conference

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, December 14, 2016
Updated: Thursday, December 8, 2016

The 45th Annual ARNOVA Conference in Washington, D.C. was the largest in our history.  Over 900 participants from 38 countries engaged in a wide variety of presentation sessions, plenary forums, events, and pre-Conference workshops.  More than 350 papers, 38 panels, and 60 colloquia were presented, covering a diverse array of topics representative of the multifaceted interests of members from around the world.  ARNOVA was proud to welcome 255 first-time attendees.


Conference Co-Chairs, Jennifer Mosley and David Suarez

2016 Conference Co-Chairs, Jennifer Mosley and David Suarez


This year’s theme, Nonprofits, Philanthropy, and Government: Policy and Partnerships in an Era of Change, guided the spirit of our events and reminded us of the size, reach, and scope of the nonprofit and philanthropic sectors.  These ideas were present in the opening plenary, where Rob Reich discussed how foundations can play an important discovery role in democracy, and the closing plenary with Tim Delaney, Stacy Palmer, and Geoff Plague, where Alan Abramson moderated a panel that examined November election results and what they mean for nonprofits and philanthropy in the years to come.


This year, ARNOVA welcomed back the founders of the Association for Research on Civil Society in Africa (AROCSA) and hosted special evening receptions to celebrate our retirees and highlight section membership. For the first time, ARNOVA also hosted an undergraduate poster session, sponsored by American University School of Public Affairs.


Undergraduate Poster Session

Undergraduate Poster Session



Additionally, The Alliance for Nonprofit Management (ANM) held its conference in conjunction with the ARNOVA conference. The partnership included a forum organized by the ARNOVA Pracademics Section and ANM leadership on Research to Practice and a number of sessions organized by ANM at the ARNOVA conference. Sessions at the conference promoted effective practices in leadership transitions, racial equity, cross-sector collaborations, community engagement, and evaluation practices among many other conference topics.


Alliance for Nonprofit Management

Alliance for Nonprofit Management


As always, one highlight of the conference was the Awards Luncheon, where ARNOVA honored the best published work our field by presenting awards for the best recent books, for articles in NVSQ, and for the best recent dissertation.


ARNOVA Distinguished Achievement in Leadership and Nonprofit and Voluntary Action Research Award

Thomasina Borkman, George Mason University


RGK-ARNOVA President’s Award

Kelly LeRoux, University of Illinois at Chicago, “Racial Diversity and Organizational Performance in the U.S. Nonprofit Sector


Peter Dobkin Hall History

Amanda Moniz, National History Center, “From Empire to Humanity: The American Revolution and the Origins of Humanitarianism”


Virginia Hodgkinson Research Book Prize

Pamala Wiepking, Erasmus University Rotterdam, and Femida Handy, University of Pennsylvania, “Palgrave Handbook of Global Philanthropy


Outstanding Book Award in Nonprofit and Voluntary Action Research

Richard L. Wood, University of New Mexico, and Brad R. Fulton, Indiana University, “A Shared Future: Faith-Based Organizing for Racial Equity and Ethical Democracy

Gabriel G. Rudney Memorial Award for Outstanding Dissertation in Nonprofit and Voluntary Action Research

Tyrone M. Freeman, Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, “Gospel of Giving: The Philanthropy of Madam CJ Walker (1867-1919)


University of Maryland Do Good Institute-ARNOVA Global Philanthropy and Nonprofit Leadership Award

Helmut K. Anheier, Hertie School of Governance


NVSQ Best Article Award

Lehn Benjamin, Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, and David Campbell, University of California Davis, “Nonprofit Performance: Accounting for the Agency of Clients - NVSQ, 44(5)”


Best Paper Award from 2015 ARNOVA Conference

Beth Gazley, Indiana University, and Chao Guo, University of Pennsylvania, “What Do We Know About Nonprofit Collaboration? A Comprehensive Systematic Review of the Literature




Alan Abramson and Thomasina Borkman

Alan Abramson, President of ARNOVA, and Thomasina Borkman


The highlight of the Awards Luncheon every year is the presentation of the Distinguished Achievement and Leadership Award, which this year went to Thomasina Borkman of George Mason University (view her acceptance remarks here).  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

American University School of Public Affairs

Center for Public & Nonprofit Leadership, McCourt School of Public Policy, Georgetown University

George Mason University Schar School of Policy

The George Washington University Trachtenberg School of Public Policy and Public Administration

James Madison University School of Strategic Leadership Studies

University of Baltimore College of Public Affairs

University of Maryland School of Public Policy

The Urban Institute Center on Nonprofits and Philanthropy

Virginia Tech School of Public & International Affairs

Zakat Foundation of America

Conference Sponsors

ASAE Center

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

Columbia University School of Professional Studies

Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy

SAGE Publications

School of Public and Environmental Affairs, Indiana University Bloomington

School of Public and Environmental Affairs at Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis

University of Notre Dame Mendoza College of Business




Considering this year’s thematic focus on nonprofits, philanthropy, and government, it was fitting that our Conference was hosted in the historic Capitol Hill neighborhood in Washington, D.C.  Members stayed just moments away from popular attractions including the White House, Smithsonian Museums, the National Mall, government centers and more. Conference evaluations continue to arrive, and we are pleased by positive feedback regarding this year’s program, presentations, and overall content.  We appreciate your remarks and strive to address your suggestions for continued improvement overall.



Next November 16-18th, ARNOVA will host its 46th Annual Conference in Grand Rapids, Michigan at the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel.  The Conference Planning Committee is now actively engaged in its work, and members with suggestions for the program are invited to send those to next year’s co-chairs, Jennifer Mosley and Mary Kay Gugerty.  The local arrangements committee will be co-chaired by Teri Behrens, Johnson Center for Philanthropy at Grand Valley State University and Michelle Wooddell, Grand Valley State University. We expect a great turnout in 2017 and look forward to another exciting gathering filled with opportunities for meaningful discussion and collaboration.


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