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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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A Special Appeal from ARNOVA Member, Lindsey McDougle

Posted By ARNOVA, Monday, December 12, 2016
Updated: Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Dear members,


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

I joined ARNOVA nearly a decade ago as a doctoral student; and, in that decade, ARNOVA has been one of (if not the) most influential professional organizations that has helped to shape my academic and professional career. 

Not only have I presented at the annual ARNOVA conference every year since I joined the organization, but I have also had an opportunity to serve the organization in numerous ways. For example: 

• I currently serve as an incoming member of the ARNOVA board of directors, 
• I was a member of the ARNOVA Research Committee (three times); 
• I was a member of the ARNOVA Conference Planning Committee in 2010; 
• I was a member of the ARNOVA Best Article Award committee in 2015; and, 
• I served as, both, chair and co-chair for the ARNOVA Boards and Governance Conference track in 2015 and 2016.

All of these service opportunities have provided me with insights into ARNOVA that I likely would never have gained had I not gotten involved with the organization. From learning more about the efforts that go into planning each annual conference to understanding the level of detail that goes into reviewing each article submitted for a “Best Article Award,” these opportunities have provided me with first-hand knowledge of just how important—and, indeed, how needed—ARNOVA is within the scholarly community. All of these experiences have been professionally rewarding and have, undoubtedly, helped to shape my career trajectory as a researcher and an academic.

But, more so than these service opportunities, the networking and scholarship opportunities that ARNOVA has provided me with have been, hands down, transformative. 

I’ll provide two examples of just what I mean. 

The first example relates to how networking opportunities at the annual ARNOVA conference have helped to further my career. 

At the 2008 ARNOVA conference in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (US), I attended a session where Dr. Femida Handy was presenting a paper. The paper generated much discussion; and, after the presentation I informed Dr. Handy that I had just delivered a presentation on a related topic in a previous session. Dr. Handy and I spent a good half an hour that day discussing our perspectives on the issue, and we kept in touch after this first meeting. Two years (and several e-mails) later, Dr. Handy invited me to apply for the University of Pennsylvania’s Postdoctoral Fellowship Program through the University’s Provosts Office. I agreed to apply; and was accepted into the program. 

Had it not been for ARNOVA, I would likely have not received this opportunity. Networking opportunities like this are critical and can help to develop the careers of students and junior scholars. Ultimately, these opportunities can lead to collaborations with other ARNOVA members that can expand knowledge in the field and impact career success.

The second example relates to how ARNOVA scholarships have helped me to pursue a line of research that I am absolutely passionate about. 

At the 2010 ARNOVA conference in Washington, DC (US), I was awarded an ARNOVA emerging scholar award.

As a researcher, most of what I focus on explores how philanthropy can be utilized to address (and even overcome) social inequities in society; and, one of the ways that I’m currently exploring this is through an innovative new teaching strategy—known as experiential philanthropy. Experiential philanthropy teaches students about philanthropy and about how philanthropy can be used to address social problems within their communities. Students are then able to act as a philanthropic funding agent on behalf of their community.

Not only have ARNOVA scholarships, like the emerging scholar award, allowed me the opportunity to engage in this kind of work (by being able to present my research and receive quality and constructive feedback), but these scholarships have also allowed me an opportunity to expose a new generation of students to the study philanthropy—enabling them to explore the role that philanthropy plays in society. 

Without an ARNOVA emerging scholar award, I likely would not have had the opportunity to attend the annual conference; and, had I not attended, I would not have received the kind of quality and constructive feedback that I needed in order to help me improve my research. Ultimately, the ARNOVA emerging scholar award played an influential role in allowing me to pursue a line of research that I am passionate about.

As of this fall, over 1,200 members representing hundreds of institutions, dozens of disciplines, and over 50 countries fill ARNOVA’s ranks—this is up from fewer than 800 members just 3 years prior! This increase in membership certainly presents numerous networking opportunities. It also means that there are likely more students and junior scholars joining ARNOVA—many of whom would greatly benefit from receiving an ARNOVA scholarship and/or award.

Without question, I can say that ARNOVA has impacted my career; and, I am committed to helping the organization provide the same opportunities for others. I ask, then, that you please join me in creating opportunities for new and emerging scholars to attend our conference, participate in our professional development programs, and most importantly further knowledge in our field. You may designate your gift to support specialized funds to help new scholars, members who need travel assistance, or you may simply donate to the general fund. 

If every member makes a donation, we can be responsive to more emerging scholars and scholars who lack the institutional and/or personal resources to attend the ARNOVA conference and participate in the organization.

Donations are tax-deductible and may be charged to your Visa, MasterCard, or Discover account by going online at and clicking Donate. You may also donate by check to the address below, or you may pledge your gift in honor or memoriam of someone. To make a pledge, simply fill out the “donor comment” section of the donate page. 

Thank you so very much for your consideration.

Lindsey McDougle


Mail donation checks to:
441 West Michigan Street
Indianapolis, IN 46202

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Remarks by Thomasina Borkman, Recipient of ARNOVA Distinguished Achievement & Leadership Award

Posted By Fatima Hussain, Thursday, December 8, 2016
Updated: Thursday, December 8, 2016

Acceptance of ARNOVA Award for Distinguished Achievement & Leadership in Nonprofit and Voluntary Action Research

Thomasina Borkman

November 18, 2016


I am very honored and thrilled to accept this award from ARNOVA.  ARNOVA has been my intellectual professional association for over 30 years!  Thank you ARNOVA and George Mason University, my academic home for over 32 years.  And, thank you Jeff Brudney for the thoughtful introduction.  Jeff has been a ray of sunshine at ARNOVA conferences always having uplifting comments whenever I see him.


I turned 80 years old last month!  From this vantage point looking back is easier then looking ahead. It gives me a chance to review my appreciation for ARNOVA and the wonderful people I’ve known over the years as well as to summarize changes I have witnessed about my own research on self-help groups the past 46 years.


My work has been research with what David Horton Smith (2000) calls Grassroots Associations –locally based, informal associations, using volunteers, largely without paid staff; David discusses them as the frequent-in-number but largely ignored associations analogous to the large invisible matter of the astrophysical universe. Grassroots Associations are especially flexible as they can be created around many innovative ideas; but, they are also fragile--they are so easy to create but often do not last long--ephemeral.  


I have discovered one organizational form that is a sustainable alternative to a bureaucracy; the 12 step-12-tradition groups of which the best known is Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) which has been copied by 80-100 other anonymous groups.   AA is 80 years old and probably 10 or more other 12 step-12 tradition groups are over 50 years old. Grassroots organizations are especially difficult to study because they are so informal and are not consistently in national data bases.


When I received my Ph.D. in sociology from Columbia University in 1969, the contemporary women’s movement had begun but had not made much headway.  I fared very well with a fulltime tenure level assistant professor job; but, I was feeling somewhat like an oddball--having a Ph.D. My high school girlfriends had mostly dropped out of college when they found a husband and were raising babies inside the white picket fences. Because I was married I was not totally strange within the context of the times. 


Sociology as a discipline focuses on the study of how social systems and their components achieve order and stability AND how they evolve and change (The kinds of change we face has become a concern after this presidential election). I was well trained in the classics (Max Weber, Emile Durkheim) and contemporary theorists (Robert Merton was my favorite theorist at Columbia, Talcott Parsons, and so forth). But I had only intellectual knowledge.  In the following years I would experience evolution and change from (1) the women’s movement from which I benefited hugely in my own personal life and in my career, (2) my area of research—the development of self-help groups from new beginnings in the 1970s through changes and institutionalization in the US by 2000 and (3) the development of interdisciplinary research and professionalization of the nonprofit organization and voluntary action area (the Third Sector), especially by contributing to ARNOVA, and internationally to ISTR (International Society of Third Sector Research).     


Researching a Movement from its Beginning to its Institutionalization

I started teaching in 1969. In 1970, I found an unlikely group of people who stutter and attended their public presentation to parents of children who stutter. They were frightened to speak in public as they all stuttered but they persevered. They were so courageous I fell in love with them.  I was very curious and asked them if I could study them. They were thrilled to have anyone interested in them (e.g., they had sent a letter to 100 speech therapists offering to help them with parents of children who stuttered and received zero replies). I conducted participant observation, attending their weekly meetings for about 2 years, and did a mail questionnaire survey of all the groups I could find in the English-speaking world (see Borkman 1999). 


What were they?  (Self-help groups had no name as such until 1976.)  They were not a social club—they had no parties; they had goals of individual fluency and personal improvement; plus, they had goals of helping other people who stuttered.  But, they did not behave like a philanthropy. They were a registered 501(C)(3) but they did not behave like one--they operated like a group.   They were a registered nonprofit only because they had a member (a lawyer) who applied for the legal status.  (You cannot learn these types of details through national databases; you can only learn this level of detail through qualitative research.) They were very puzzling and intellectually fascinating.  In the world survey, I found a New Zealand group that had disbanded because they met their goals.  I had never read or heard of anything like that in the organizational literature.  I was hooked—what on earth is this new creature that cannot be explained by any type of group or organization I had ever heard or read about.


In 1972 as part of the women’s movement I attended a consciousness-raising group (CR group) which was a form of a self-help group.  In a CR group women tell their personal stories in a sharing circle; they do not quote facts, data or reference experts.  I had to learn how to think about and talk about my life and career as a human being rather than the “objective” researcher. Learning to reflect on and honor my own experience helped formulate what became my best known theoretical formulation about self-help groups—their development and use of experiential knowledge—the authority of embodied and lived experience of peers (see Borkman 1976).


In retrospect, I recognize that I was privileged to observe a movement from its near beginning buoyed by and connected with the civil rights and women’s movements, disability movement, and other movements of the 1970s-80s and later. Self-help groups are groups of individuals who share an illness or stigmatizing condition and meet to improve or ameliorate their situation.  They occur in civil society--not part of the market place or government; are self-governing without professional facilitators; and they engage in mutual aid without fees.  Their technology is the “sharing circle” of exchanging narratives of lived experience with the focal issue through which they develop collectivized experiential knowledge about handling their situation.


Around 2000, self-help groups became institutionalized as support groups with professionals appropriating them, changing their name to generic support groups, and hosting them routinely in hospitals and clinics (see Archibald 2007). However, they are also institutionalized as the original self-governing groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous that lay people initiate; many are now online or telephone-based groups and are known as support groups or self-help support groups. I estimated that a large minority of the US population understood self-help groups well enough to initiate one themselves by 1990.  There were two examples in the Washington Post just last month.  First, the Washington Post (Oct. 31, 2016) reported a story of local mothers who work in the legal medical marijuana business in Washington, D.C., but are concerned “what to tell their young kids” if they come home smelling like marijuana. “The stigma has her questioning how to discuss her profession with her children.”  She formed a support group with other moms in the marijuana business “to navigate child-rearing in the murky age of legalization.”  The second example was in the Tuesday Health and Science section in October that discussed a man who had an extremely rare form of cancer.  One of his major complaints in the article was that he could not find a support group of others with his type of cancer!


Participation in ARNOVA

Over time I became more interdisciplinary and more international in orientation.  ARNOVA’s explicit acknowledgement of values and discussion about their role in research and practice has been key to ARNOVA becoming my professional association home.  The ARNOVA Board of Directors statement yesterday reaffirming our values after the Presidential election I heartily endorse.


I have been a Consulting Editor of JVAR and then NVSQ, was on the Board in my early days, contributed to the development of the Community and Grassroots section (CGAP) in 1995 with David Horton Smith, Carl Milofsky, Richard Sundeen, and others.  I was President of ARNOVA in 1991-1992 during a critical period when it changed from a voluntary association to a paid staff nonprofit. David Horton Smith (2001), founder, in a history of ARNOVA divided it into 3 periods: (1) formative period of 1971-1976, (2) the volunteer leadership period of 1977-1994, and the (3) paid executive director period: late 1994-to present.  During my era of the middle period, Presidents were working as volunteers, not as figureheads. The only paid person was a part time administrator.  The association was changing from being narrowly focused on voluntary action to broaden its scope to all voluntary nonprofit sector studies including citizen participation, civil society, and philanthropy.  Nonprofit management centers were developing: how should they be incorporated into an expanded ARNOVA?   How could we expand the disciplines that participated such as law, business, history, public administration, and other fields?  International NGOs were also increasing with pressure to develop an international association: should ARNOVA take that on or cooperate in helping birth a new organization? 


Three sets of Presidents guided us through the major changes from voluntary association to paid staff nonprofit. Robert Herman before me in 1989-1990 stewarded discussion and change process, including name changes of the (JVAR) journal to NVSQ and association from AVAS to ARNOVA.  I as President continued the process rewriting the By-Laws, and expanding the focus of the Journal and changing its editor to Carl Milofsky.  I enlisted more volunteering effort from the officers and the Board with the unusual amount of work necessary for the transition.  Following me were Co-Presidents Kirsten Gronbjerg and Richard Steinberg who importantly wrote successful grant proposals that provided funding for a greatly expanded ARNOVA including a more permanent executive office at Indiana University where is remains.  


During my tenure, we also considered whether ARNOVA should become the international organization.  After many long discussions and considerations, we decided to cooperate in the development of a separate ISTR  which became housed at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore. I honor Virginia Hodgkinson who is here today—she favored a separate international organization.  Many ARNOVA colleagues participate in ISTR’s international conferences; I see many of them at those conferences. ARNOVA and ISTR have led me to collaborative research with colleagues in Japan, Sweden, UK and Israel--eye opening and mind boggling! If you want to understand the organization or phenomena you are researching, study it comparatively—in another culture, country or context. 


Now, to conclude! I’ve been retired since 2007 but active professionally on a limited scale—editing an international journal, part time research on an NIH funded project (see Borkman et al 2016), some ARNOVA-related work (e.g., Munn-Giddings, et al. 2016) and some mentoring. The greatest part of participating in ARNOVA has been of course the people: Carl Milofsky, Joyce Rothschild, Jon Van Til, Lehn Benjamin and so many others—Ann Dill, David Horton Smith, Elizabeth Boris; my Canadian friends such as Vic Murray, Laurie Mook and  Brenda Zimmerman, among others. I have learned so much, been challenged and supported by colleagues and friends.  I’ll close on the old adage about volunteering: the more you participate and give to others, the more you receive! It’s win-win!     




Archibald, Matthew E.  2007. The Evolution of Self-Help: How a Health Movement Became an Institution. NY: Palgrave Macmillan.

Borkman, T. "Experiential Knowledge:  A New Concept for the Analysis of   Self‑Help Group,"  Social Service Review, 50 (September):  445‑456, 1976. 

Borkman, T., Understanding Self-Help/Mutual Aid: Experiential Learning in the Commons. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 1999.

Borkman, T., Stunz, A., & Kaskutas, L.A. Developing an experiential definition of recovery: Participatory research with recovering substance abusers from multiple pathways. Substance Use and Misuse, 51, 9, 2016. DOI:10.3109/10826084.2016.1160119.


Munn-Giddings, C., Oka, T.,  Borkman, T.,  Matzat, J.,  Montaño & Chikoto. Self-help and mutual aid group volunteering in Smith, D. Horton, Stebbins, R. A. & Grotz, J. (Eds) Palgrave Handbook of Volunteering, Civic Participation, and Nonprofit Associations, 2016. Palgrave Macmillan UK.


Smith, David Horton. Grassroots Associations.  Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, 2000.

Smith, David Horton. A History of ARNOVA.  Indianapolis, IN: ARNOVA, 2001.


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