Nonprofit, Philanthropic, and Social Enterprise

Faculty in this research group examine the emerging issues facing the nonprofit sector. In particular, faculty are examining innovative trends related to management, arts and cultural leadership, philanthropy and social enterprise and conducting research in the following areas within this field:

  • Economics of nonprofit and philanthropic organizations
  • Social entrepreneurship and social enterprise
  • Charitable giving and high-impact philanthropy
  • Arts and cultural leadership

Examples of emerging research topics include:

  • What are the effects of “big” philanthropy on democracy?
  • Implications of the diminishing influence of the middle class donor
  • Balancing social and commercial considerations in social enterprise

Information for PhD Applicants

Nonprofit, Philanthropic, and Social Enterprise is one of three research groups that support the PPPM PhD in Planning and Public Affairs. Students applying to the doctoral program should review the expertise of the Core PPPM faculty listed below to identify potential advisors.


Core PPPM Faculty

  • Renee Irvin: Nonprofit finance, tax policy advocacy, wealth policy and private foundations
  • Dyana Mason: nonprofit management and governance, advocacy organizations, political economy of the nonprofit sector
  • Patricia Lambert: Cultural policy, arts administration education, and arts in health

Participating PPPM faculty

  • José Meléndez: Civic engagement; designing for equity, participatory processes
  • Eleonora Redaelli: Creative placemaking, participation, arts management
  • Doug Blandy: Community arts, arts education, disability studies, public folklore, material culture

Key Graduate Elective Classes

Current Research

  • Arts Education and Cultural Engagement for Creative Aging (Lambert & Blandy)
  • Creative Placemaking (Arroyo & Redaelli)
  • Nonprofit Capacity Building in Rural America (RARE)
  • Online Mentoring for Entrepreneurs (Lall & Mason)
  • Business Accelerators for Social Enterprise (Lall)
  • Philanthropic Giving and Voluntary Action (Mason)
  • Mission Change in U.S. Family Foundations (Irvin)
  • Creating Financially Stable Nonprofit Organizations (Irvin)
  • Nonprofit Advocacy Organizations: Upstream Influence on Policy (Irvin)

Recent articles or reports:

Renee Irvin

  • Mission Change Over Time in US Family Foundations (2019). Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly
  • How Slogans Curate Public Opinion: Hard Lessons from Lakoff and the Linguists. Public Integrity

Patricia Lambert

Dyana Mason

  • Teaching Social Justice in Nonprofit Management Education: A Critical Pedagogy and Practical Strategies, Administrative Theory and Praxis.(2019) Advance online access. 
  • Breaking Ranks? Differentiating Nominal Group Technique Scoring Approaches for Consensus and Prioritisation (2019). International Journal of Research & Method in Education
  • Crisis on the Border: Specialized Capacity Building in Nonprofit Immigration Organizations (2017). Voluntas: International Journal of Voluntary and Nonprofit Organizations

Relevant Media

Dyana Mason was featured in WalletHub’s recent article, Most Charitable States.

Renee Irvin was featured in Consumer Reports about donations at the cash register, A donation-with-purchase might not be the best way to support a charity.