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Remarks from Dwight Burlingame, co-recipient of Distinguished Achievement Award

Posted By ARNOVA, Friday, December 20, 2019

2019 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 21, 2019



Dwight Burlingame, IU Lilly Family School of Philanthropy


I am honored and humbled by this distinguished Achievement Award from ARNOVA.  

It is especially meaningful to me because ARNOVA has been the primary professional organization in my life for the last 30 years.   It is indeed special to join the company of the past awardees of this award and to receive it at the same time as Susan Ostrander, (Congratulations Susan) who I first met in 1992 at the ARNOVA Research conference held at Yale University. It was a significant event since it was my first paper presented at an ARNOVA Conference. Thanks to the many ARNOVA colleagues and friends that have been part of the network that has helped me achieve whatever success I have obtained in this relatively new field of philanthropic, civil society, nonprofit, or voluntarists studies(As our Founder David Horton Smith named it). I would also like to acknowledge the support of my family and especially my wife, Audrey, of 52 years who is unable to be here today.  


             This award has prompted me to reflect on my intellectual and personal journey. After receiving my master’s in Library Science in 1967, I worked in various administrative and teaching positions over a period of 17 years in the library/learning resources field—with a 2- year Army service interruption. It was in the spring of 1984, when the President of Bowling Green State University called me into his office and asked me to take the position of Vice President for University Relations and head of the University Foundation. That changed my career path.   It was through that position and the discussion with donors about the role of philanthropy and their dreams that  led me 6 years latter  to accept Robert Payton’s offer to come to the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University and head up the academic and research programs at the Center.  It was a great opportunity to be actively engaged in working with faculty, staff and students in the development of a new field.


             One of my first duties was to educate myself about the history and practice of philanthropy and of voluntary organizations in the US and internationally.   The reading list was long and the participation with professional colleagues was foremost. Participation in the Research forum of Independent Sector in 1990 provided the first opportunity to meet Virginia Hodgkinson, Michael O’Neill, Dennis Young, Paul Schervish, Jon Van Till, and Elizabeth Boris among others which have become friends and mentors for the last thirty years. In 1991, I helped organize a meeting at the Center which helped in the establishment of ITSR. Another community of scholars and practitioners, many also members of ARNOVA, devoted to building our understanding of the “third sector” in the world community. Through connections made possible by ITSR and grants from various foundations—especially an Eastern European Initiative grant from Mott Foundation in 1993, my quest for understanding civil society and the role of philanthropy in it was firmly planted. From Europe (especially Giuliana Gemelli at the University of Bologna where we developed a Master in International Studies in Philanthropy(MISP) 2001-2010) to Latin America ( Especially with the support of the Kellogg Foundation in the Building Bridges project) to Japan, Korea and China and to the Middle East and Southern Africa, so many people to whom I am indebted.  


            Finally, I got to work with the Nonprofit Academic Centers Council.  The group’s interest in building and expanding education and research in our field has been a core focus of my contributions. Working with colleagues on developing curricular guidelines for the field was particularly rewarding.

            Over the last 30 years at Indiana, I met many leaders in the field  but ARNOVA continues to provide the intellectual home for me and the opportunity to work with so many colleagues who believe in the importance of serving not only their individual academic interests but the importance of engaging with and service in community. Thanks especially to the many individuals here and to those who could not be here today that have been social innovators, advocates and critics as we work to create a just civil society for all. 


            Most of all I owe much to my colleagues current and past at the Center of Philanthropy at Indiana University now the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy and its many donors which provided much needed resources for the Indiana experiment. First and foremost was Robert Payton, who hired me—followed by Warren Ilchman, Gene Tempel, Patrick Rooney, and our current dean Amir Pasic. Over the years I have had the pleasure to work with more than 100 faculty colleagues. For example , recently  I had the opportunity to sit down with  Lehn Benjamin, a faculty colleague at the School, and discuss her work where she reviewed much of the research published in three major journals in the field(NVSQ, Voluntas, and NM&L)  over the last decade.  I was struck with her finding that we have focused much of our work on the organizations, leaders, donors and volunteers but to a much lesser degree to the “front-line workers” who deliver our services and to the beneficiaries of our work. Perhaps if we understood better all the actors in our community, we would make even more progress as we work to achieve a greater just society for all.


            Perhaps most important for me has been the hundreds of students that I have had the privilege to teach and grow with as we have explored the role of philanthropy and civil society across the globe. Building new degree programs and nurturing research useful for practitioners in the field has made for an exciting and rewarding career. Along with the development of degree programs was the establishment in 1990 of a book series within the Indiana University Press on Philanthropic Studies with co-editor Robert Payton. In 1999 David Hammack joined with me as co-editor through 2018 when more than 50 scholarly works had been published. From l994-2000- I co-edited a practitioner series on New Directions for Philanthropic Fundraising; and from 2004-2010 I had the privilege to be co-editor of NVSQ with my colleague and friend Wolfgang Bielefeld. Working with the authors and reading their works was truly a rewarding education. I mention  these editorships to convey my hope that many of you will seek to do “translational” type of work that reaches a wide and diverse audience, in addition to the “deep dive”  into a special area of  research that faculties often expect  for one to obtain the tenure card. Applied research is especially needed when we engage with diverse communities outside of the University to build a better civil society for all.


            When looking back over the last 30 years as prologue for the next generations of leaders in the field, I have faith that the ideals of justice and compassion will be revitalized in our communities. I find myself returning to reading Building Community by John W. Gardner published in l991 by INDEPENDENT SECTOR. He said: “Strong and resilient communities can stand between the individual and any government that tries to impose dictatorial solutions from the right or left.” (p.5) The urgency of our action seems ever more needed in today’s USA as well as many other countries around the globe. Philanthropy and nonprofit/voluntary organizations rightly understood are so important for that just society that we research and study as members of the community of ARNOVA.


            In a recent headline of the Chronicle of Philanthropy the question asked was “How can Philanthropy save our Democracy?” In the US context today, I wonder if perhaps the question might have been: “How can Philanthropy work with government and business to save our Democracy?” In correspondence with Judith Saidel, (another ARNOVA colleague) she rightly pointed out that civil society/philanthropy “will sometimes have to take the lead”. Are we ready to help civil society take the lead? I think so! As many past participants at ARNOVA know I love to express joy through music. Thus, on this occasion I leave you with the ARNOVA song that I wrote several years ago:  



             ARNOVA  (to the tune of Maria from “West Side Story”)

            The most beautiful org I ever                         ARNOVA  Say it loud

            Knew                                                                           and there’s music playing

            ARNOVA     ARNOVA                                                Say it soft

            ARNOVA                                                                    and its almost like thinking

            All the beautiful folks of the                            ARNOVA

            world in a single org                                        I’ll never stop saying

            ARNOVA     ARNOVA                                                ARNOVA 

            ARNOVA                                                                    (Repeat one)


            (Begin Repeat One)                                                   (Ending)

            ARNOVA                                                                    The most beautiful org I ever

            I just found an org named                                           knew.  ARNOVA


            Not just an acronym

            But a research synonym

            To me…….     ARNOVA

            Where would this sector be

            Without its inquiry------To see

Tags:  #ARNOVA19  Annual conference  ARNOVA Conference 

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Remarks from Susan Ostrander, co-recipient of Distinguished Achievement Award

Posted By Angie Franco, Friday, December 20, 2019
Updated: Friday, December 20, 2019

2019 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 21, 2019



Susan A. Ostrander, Professor Emerita, Sociology, Tufts University

For many years, I looked forward at our annual conferences to learning who among us would be honored with this most valued award. I am pleased beyond words to have been chosen, and especially delighted to share the award with Dwight Burlingame.

The occasion of the award sent me to my files to see what if anything I had saved from my long and active affiliation with ARNOVA. I was glad – and a little surprised-- to find several thick files of print notes and copies of e-mails and documents, one devoted to my 2007 to 2012 term on the ARNOVA board and a particularly large file on my several years of chairing the Diversity Committee from 2008 to 2011. I’m not certain, but I think that I first attended the annual conference in 1992 held at Yale University and attended almost every year for two decades until 2013. In more recent years, physical mobility issues that plague so many of us older people have made traveling too difficult and I have missed being with all of you.

Most of the twenty years I attended the ARNOVA conference I gave a paper based on my research and often, like many of you, I also organized a panel. I liked to include people (often people I did not know) who were doing research that I thought might help me challenge and advance my own thinking. As I got to know more people and as people knew me, I got asked to be on panels, be on the editorial board of NVSQ, co-edit a special issue, join and chair award committees and other kinds of committees, plus twice to become a member of the ARNOVA board. These are the sorts of activities that make up the life of a happily engaged scholar. ARNOVA made that possible and I am immensely grateful.

Why did I keep coming back to ARNOVA year after year? I found that I thrived and so did my work on the smaller more welcoming culture at ARNOVA that led to deeper and more personal relationships of colleagueship and genuine friendship. The combination of scholarly and practical attention from both academics and nonprofit professionals fed a sense of purpose in my research. The multi-disciplinary points of view offered new ways of thinking and relating. In a matter of special importance to me, the 2008 ARNOVA Strategic Plan gave high priority to ensuring more people of color at conferences and in organizational leadership positions. The membership soon voted the Diversity Committee as a permanent standing committee of the board. For all these reasons and more, ARNOVA became my intellectual home for some-20 years of my career.

The scholarship for which I am probably best known – the study of philanthropy-- began with my 1984 book Women of the Upper Class where I argued that the volunteer activities of this old wealth class of women, while doing some public good, contributed substantially to upholding the privilege and power of their own class. Based on in-depth interviews with these women, I showed how their philanthropy took a “noblesse oblige” form of “giving back” that justified (and thus helped to maintain) their enormous privilege; how their leadership on the boards of nonprofit social welfare organizations provided them a platform to keep these organizations, as they said, “private,” free from government influence, and as one woman put it, a bulwark against moving “too far to the left” through advocacy or other forms of social change work that might threaten class hierarchy. It is my impression that this kind of elite philanthropy that is rooted in high status exclusive class networks and marked by old wealth family tradition is less dominant today. This is largely because, as others have shown, an influx of new money and those who had it proved necessary to sustain the whole range of nongovernmental organizations that depend on philanthropic dollars.

My initial study of upper class elite philanthropy had captured my interest in philanthropy more generally, so I was delighted when Jon Van Til invited me to join a group of scholars charged with putting together a volume on what was to be a definitive conceptualization of philanthropy. Fellow sociologist Paul Schervish and I co-authored a chapter theorizing philanthropy as a social relationship between donor and recipient calling it a social relations theory of philanthropy. I was most interested in how philanthropy conceived in this way calls upon donors and recipients to engage together in commonly identified and jointly created projects of shared interest. I see this as an alternative to philanthropy where donors give money in accordance with their own interests without the involvement of recipient groups. Critics as far back as Jane Addams (1902) have seen that kind of donor centered and donor driven philanthropy, as I do, as in fundamental contradiction with a democratic society. I was deeply gratified that our 1990 conceptualization of philanthropy as a social relationship between donors and recipients, published in Van Til’s edited volume Critical Issues in American Philanthropy, received at the time a good bit of attention and praise.

Following on this line of thought, I began to search for empirical examples of philanthropy where recipients played an important role in deciding how and where philanthropic dollars were put to work serving recipient needs and interests. This led me to a small social change foundation in Boston called Haymarket People’s Fund which made (and still makes) grants to grassroots social justice organizing groups for what they called “Change Not Charity.” I spent three years doing intensive field research there. My 1995 book Money for Change: Social Movement Philanthropy at Haymarket People’s Fund showed how Haymarket explicitly challenges class privilege and power by turning over the decisions of how grant dollars are spent to allocation committees made up of people drawn from the kind of recipient groups this foundation supports. Those groups are composed largely of people of color, low income people and other marginalized populations. I argued that this way of doing philanthropy transforms the typical social relations of philanthropy where grant decisions are made solely by members of the donor class and, at times, by philanthropy professionals who serve them.

The Haymarket model illustrates one end of a continuum of donor vs. recipient power relations, and over the next few years, I (and other co-authors) wrote about other empirical examples of philanthropy where grantee groups exercised at least some measure of agency over the use of
philanthropic dollars that came from donors (whether individuals or foundations). It seemed clear that philanthropy that served and was led by donor interests and concerns was by no means inevitable and was certainly not necessary to sustain philanthropy as a viable social institution.

At the same time, as the 1990’s progressed, it also became clear that the dominant thought and practice of philanthropy had moved in the opposite direction from a notion of philanthropy as a social relationship between donors and recipients. As I argued in a 2007 article (“The Growth of Donor Control: Revisiting the Social Relations of Philanthropy,” Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly) philanthropy has instead become more and more donor centered, donor driven, and donor controlled. Professional fundraisers are counseled to put donor preferences and passions at the forefront of appeals for money. Charitable gifts are called “investments” and donors are urged to expect a ROI (return on investment). Recipient groups seem to be offered little choice but to cater to what donors want. In an effort to counter this trend, philanthropic reform groups, including some that include the voices of more democratically minded donors, urge donors not to designate specific uses of their gifts. Donors and donor organizations are encouraged instead to direct their gifts to general operating funds that leave decisions of how to use resources to staff and others close to recipient needs and interest. While I have not studied how successful these calls for reform have been, I am pleased to see what seems to be a growing sentiment for placing limits on the huge growth of what are called donor advised funds, and I am gratified by recent calls (such as that by Cynthia Gibson) for “participatory grantmaking” where constituents (grantees) play a role in grant decisions just as I had argued for earlier.

In recent years I have turned away from the study of philanthropy, though I’ve continued my interest in nonprofit and voluntary activity, publishing widely about civic engagement in the university and in urban communities. In addition to doing my research and writing, I was an active leading participant in my university’s civic engagement efforts before I retired; and I continue to be active in my community serving on the board of an immigrant advocacy organization and chairing the fundraising committee.

My most recent book Citizenship and Governance in a Changing City (2013) is based on four years of ethnographic research in the city of Somerville adjacent to Boston. There I explored the role of immigrants in civic and political life and of community voluntary associations in local politics and government. Based on what I saw in Somerville, I argued for a concept of shared governance where elected officials and engaged community members, through associations, negotiate and adapt to each other’s points of view in constructing local policy. I show how this shared governance requires a concept of social citizenship that goes beyond legal citizenship to encompass full community membership by all and a sense of belonging and recognition by members for one another.

Thank you so much to the leadership and membership of ARNOVA for this esteemed award and for this opportunity to tell some of the story of my involvement with ARNOVA and my path as an engaged scholar. Warmest good wishes to all!



Tags:  #ARNOVA19  Annual conference  ARNOVA Conference 

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2019 ARNOVA Conference Recap

Posted By Angie Franco, Friday, December 20, 2019
Updated: Friday, December 27, 2019

Nonprofits and Philanthropy in a Polarized World:

Speaking Truth to Power and Using Power to Speak Truth


The 48th Annual ARNOVA Conference in San Diego, California saw attendees from all over the world and was the first ARNOVA conference for 300 of our 851 attendees! The conference covered a wide scope of topics within philanthropy, through over 354 paper presentations, 45 poster presentations, 47 panels, 3 lightening research roundtables, and 44 colloquia.



The multifaceted nature of philanthropy, nonprofit, and the voluntary sector was illustrated throughout the diverse research, sessions and presentations at our Annual Conference this year. This year’s theme, ‘’Nonprofits and Philanthropy in a Polarized World: Speaking Truth to Power and Using Power to Speak Truth’’ reminded us of the breadth and impact of philanthropic action and research. These ideas were explored deeper in the opening plenary. 
 Following a day and a half of engaging presentations and panels, our members came together for the 2019 Annual Awards Luncheon to recognize the accomplishments of their colleagues and friends.


Friday Awards Ceremony Luncheon



At the ARNOVA awards luncheon, we honored our outgoing board members, John Ronquillo, Mary Tschirhart, and David Suarez for their service, and we thanked our wonderful previous Executive Director, Shariq Siddiqui.

Angela Eikenberry with the outgoing Board Members Mary Tschirhart, David Suarez and John Ronquillo



Angela Eikenberry with Shariq Siddiqui


2019 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

University of San Diego

Bush School, Texas A&M University Center for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Leadership at Rice University

USC Price, Sol Price School of Public Policy


Conference Sponsors

American University School of Public Affairs

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

The Axelson Center for Nonprofit Management and North Park University School of Business and Nonprofit Management

Bush School of Government and Public Service Texas A&M University

BYU Romney Institute of Public Service & Ethics

Charity Navigator

Charles Stuart Mott Foundation

Evans School of Public Policy & Governance University of Washington

The Ford Foundation

George Washington Trachtenberg School of Public Policy & Public Administration

Inclusive America Project

Intuitive Solutions

IU Lilly Family School of Philanthropy

Kent State University

The Kresge Foundation

The Lilly Endowment

Mohammed and Abdullah Ibrahim Al Subaie Charity Foundation



Ohio State University John Glenn School of Public Affairs

O’Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs Indiana University

O’Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs IUPUI

Pepperdine University

Portland State University Department of Public Administration

RGK Center for Philanthropy and Community Service at the University of Texas at Austin

SAGE Publications

Seattle University

Seton Hall University Masters of Public Administration

University of Central Florida School of Public Administration

University of Maryland Do Good Institute

University of North Texas Department of Public Administration

University of Notre Dame Mendoza College of Business

University of San Diego

UNO School of Public Administration

USC Sol Price School of Public Policy


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


The professional headshots taken during the conference are now available here!


Follow the #ARNOVA19 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  and connect with us via LinkedIn to see more photos. We hope to see you next year for one of our many upcoming conferences



Tags:  #ARNOVA19  Annual conference  ARNOVA Conference 

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Meet the First Registrant of the 2015 ARNOVA Conference!

Posted By ARNOVA, Tuesday, May 19, 2015
Updated: Wednesday, May 20, 2015


Meet Victor Kuo, the first registrant for the 2015 ARNOVA Conference! 

"Super Early Bird" registration for ARNOVA's 44th Annual Conference in Chicago, IL began on May 8th and has brought in several registrants, the first of which was Victor Kuo, Ph.D., a consultant, researcher and evaluator who has spent fifteen years helping philanthropic foundations measure their social impact.


"I am delighted to be part of an exciting panel on entrepreneurs and philanthropic leaders in Asia. ARNOVA is well known as one of the premier practice and research communities for my sector of interest: philanthropy" -Dr. Kuo 

Currently, Victor is founder of VK Global Advising and leads projects in strategic planning, evaluation, and organizational development. Previously, he was evaluation officer at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and research associate in the Evaluation and Learning Services unit at the David & Lucile Packard Foundation. He has consulted on building organizational capacity for evaluation and has conducted evaluations of projects in K-12 education, post-secondary education, and conservation and the environment. Dr. Kuo served on the Board of Directors of the American Evaluation Association and currently serves on the Advisory Board of GreatNonprofits. He also holds the position of Director of Strategic Planning and Research at Seattle Colleges which serve 50,000 and are the largest community college system in Washington State, USA. He has spoken on evaluation in philanthropy in Hong Kong, Singapore, Saigon, and throughout the U.S. He earned his Ph.D. from Stanford University, MA from Teachers College Columbia University, and BA from Pomona College.


We look forward to hosting Dr. Kuo and the hundreds of other attendees who make the ARNOVA Conference the enriching experience that it is! Register for the conference at reduced rates until August 15, 2015.

Tags:  Annual conference  ARNOVA Conference  Conference Registration 

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