Theme Panel: Advancing Philanthropic Scholarship: The Implications of Transformation


Theme Panel: Advancing Philanthropic Scholarship: The Implications of Transformation

Sat, September 3, 2:00 to 3:30pm

Public and private institutions rely on philanthropy to provide social goods that are not sufficiently funded through government appropriations or market mechanisms. The United States has a particularly rich history of philanthropy, with the wealthy giving multi-million dollar gifts, perhaps from a sense of moral obligation as proclaimed by Andrew Carnegie in the early 20th Century. Given the inability of any one donor to provide the means to solve complex social challenges, however, Salamon (2014) posits that there is a philanthropic revolution taking place and both donors and organizations are seeking creative financial mechanisms in this new frontier. The hope is that through new tools, actors will be able to leverage the enormous amount of capital necessary to address wicked problems. Specifically, donors seek new ways to provide capital for nonprofit and hybrid organizations that results in both social and financial returns on investments.

For example, Mark Zuckerberg, founder of Facebook, recently announced he would donate more than 99 percent of his wealth, estimated to be about $45 billion, to charity, including political causes. Rather than working through a nonprofit foundation subject to 501(c)3 regulations, Zuckerberg plans to use a limited liability corporation structure that will allow for financial and social returns on investments. While the use of a for-profit structure may seem to be less than charitable to some, the Zuckerberg gift is an example of a shift in philanthropy that has been discussed among nonprofit and public administration scholars for some time.

The shift in philanthropy to be noticeably about both creation of social and financial gain raises many questions about the ability of the nonprofit sector to provide a space for advocacy and resistance, donor control, and the proper use of charitable donations. These questions are relevant to political science scholars, particularly given the growing demand for alternative philanthropic tools, the projections for increased philanthropic investments, and the interest in using these funds for a range of issues, including political causes. Therefore, this panel brings together public administration and political science scholars to discuss both the opportunities and challenges presented by these new philanthropic endeavors.

View in the 2016 Online Program.

Steven Rathgeb Smith, American Political Science Association

Steven Rathgeb Smith, American Political Science Association
Kristin Goss

Critical Assessment of the Effective Philanthropy Movement
Roseanne M. Mirabella, Seton Hall University
Angela M. Eikenberry, University of Nebraska-Omaha
Philanthropy and the Transformation of the Politics of Well-Being
Patricia M Nickel, Virginia Tech
The Public Benefit of Benefit Corporations
Shannon K. Vaughan, Western Kentucky University
Shelly R. Arsneault, California State University, Fullerton
Philanthropy: Thematic Changes in the Practice and Scholarship
Kathryn E. Webb Farley, Appalachian State University