Dennis L. Poole

Senior Fellow in Nonprofit Management & Community Building

Dennis Poole is Professor and Past Dean in the College of Social Work at The University of South Carolina. He also is Senior Fellow of Nonprofit Management and Community Building at the RGK Center for Philanthropy and Community Service in the LBJ School of Public Affairs at The University of Texas-Austin. He earned an M.S.W. degree with a focus on community development at West Virginia University and a Ph.D. in Social Policy from the Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University.


Dr. Poole’s publications include six books and some 60 peer-reviewed journal articles, book chapters, and essays, mostly on nonprofit management, community building, social innovation, and transnational civil society. His scholarship, teaching, and research focus chiefly on community building, social entrepreneurship, nonprofit management, and transnational civil society. In addition to six years of service as dean of the College of Social Work at The University of South Carolina, he served as Executive Director of the Community Development Support Association (CDSA) in Oklahoma. A community-based nonprofit organization, CDSA became a bell-tower of social innovation and social entrepreneurship during his seven-year tenure as director in such diverse fields as health care, early childhood development, school-based services, housing, employment, and microenterprise development.


As Professor in the School of Social Work at The University of Texas, he contributed to the development of the interdisciplinary Portfolio Program in Nonprofit Studies in the RGK Center. He also served briefly as Principal Investigator of the U.S.-Mexico Bilateral Civil Society Educational Partnership through the Association Liaison Office for University Cooperation in Development. His collaborative research continues with the RGK Center, chiefly in the areas of nonprofit capacity building research, volunteerism, and social entrepreneurship.