Featured Working Papers


Melissa M. Stone, University of Minnesota, 2011 RGK-ARNOVA President’s Award for Nonprofit Research
This paper presents results from a research study on charter school governance in Minnesota, the first state to enact charter school legislation in 1991.  The paper examines the effects of the political and institutional environments on charter school governance, pays particular attention to how charter school boards navigate their legally mandated hybrid status, and analyzes the effects of hybridity on governance practices and school performance. The paper makes theoretical and empirical contributions to our understanding of governance in strong institutional environments and the implications of hybridity for governance practices.  
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Eve Garrow, University of Michigan, 2010 RGK-ARNOVA President’s Award for Nonprofit Research
By virtue of their hybrid identity as both nonprofit human service organizations and commercial businesses, work integration social enterprises (WISEs) are subject to institutional pluralism, creating tensions between mission and market. These tensions are embodied in the dual role of clients, who are constituted as both service recipients and instruments of production.  Drawing linkages between institutional logics and political economy perspectives, this paper develops and tests a theoretical model that seeks to explain the conditions under which clients are commodified. Comparative analysis of a theoretical sample of WISEs suggests that relative embeddedness across human service and business fields, the distribution of power across social service and production units, and the extent to which the service unit is closely coupled to the production unit combine to determine how clients are constructed and treated in the organization.   
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The Professor Is In: Classroom Techniques That Capture Critical Issues in Volunteer Management

by Dr. Sarah Jane Rehnborg

Dr. Sarah Jane Rehnborg published a two-part feature article focused on classroom techniques for teaching critical issues in volunteer management in the January and April 2013 editions of e-Volunteerism, an online journal for volunteer leaders. Part 1 focused on using role plays, case studies, and current events to illustrate core concepts for students who lack real-life experience in volunteerism and the nonprofit world. Part 2 explored factors to consider in designing internship experiences and techniques for teaching critical thinking that help students learn and question core assumptions within the field.

Working Papers

Edifice Complex: Building Ownership and Financial Strength of Nonprofit Theaters

Lewis Faulk, 2010 Summer Fellow, Georgia State University

This paper explores factors contributing to the financial capacity of nonprofit performing arts theaters.  The analysis explains profitability and liquidity of 3,642 U.S. nonprofit theaters that filed IRS Form 990s from 1998-2007. Independent variables include measures developed by previous research on the financial health of nonprofit organizations, variables for different revenue streams as shares of total revenue, and exposure to real estate and mortgage debt. Findings show that controlling for organization age, size, and financial health measures, mortgage debt has a significant negative impact on theater profitability and negatively impacts liquidity for theaters with more than $1 million expenses. Contrary to common recommendations, revenue concentration, not diversification, and particularly having higher ratios of unearned, rather than earned, revenues correlate with greater financial capacity.


Jurgen Willems, 2010 Summer Fellow, Free University of Brussels (Vrije Universiteit Brussel)

This paper provides a theoretical model that deals with the potential impact of social interactions among nonprofit leaders on the effectiveness of their organization. Five propositions included in the model and supported with an extensive literature review shed light on how the alignment (or misalignment) among nonprofit leaders can influence the organization’s outcomes. Three types of alignment are dealt with: (1) functional alignment, (2) motivational alignment, and (3) practices alignment. The proposed model will be the base for further research in order to confirm, adjust or reject the propositions made.

Revitalizing American Cities: Do Community Development Corporations Matter?

Nathaniel S. Wright, 2010 Summer Fellow, University of Kansas

Policy makers have been faced with identifying solutions to address poverty and other social problems facing U.S. cities. Community development corporations have emerged as major players in the rebuilding of cities across America. Research has shown that CDCs have been successful in their quest in the revitalization of neighborhoods and communities (Vidal, 1992). However, little research has focused on the success of their efforts on a city level. This study seeks to address this gap in the literature. Using data collected from the American Community Survey and Guidestar on U.S. cities and CDCs, this paper examines to what extent are CDCs revitalizing U.S. cities by developing three models of city revitalization. The study finds a negative relationship between the amount of monies spent by CDCs on programs and administration, and the amount of people living below poverty. Additionally, a negative relationship is also found between CDC expenditures and the percentage of vacant housing in U.S. cities.

What Motivates Youth Civic Involvement?

Parissa L. Jahromi, 2010 Summer Fellow, Stanford University

Though the topic of youth civic involvement is increasingly popular in social science research, the question of why some youth are civically involved while others are not is not yet well understood. In this paper, a developmental contextualist approach is used to address the following questions: What motivations do youth report for civic involvement? Do motivations differ across school contexts? A qualitative interview study using an in-depth semi-structured interview approach with 21 diverse youth was used to investigate questions concerned youth civic involvements and motivation. Interviews were coded using both theory-based content analysis methods and open coding in an iterative coding process. Results suggest five categories of motivations and two categories of de-motivators that emerged from youth reports of their reasons for civic involvement. There is variation in levels, types, and motivations for youth civic involvement both across and within groups with similar school contexts. An emergent finding is that civic motivations likely differ from motivations for other youth involvements. Implications are that civic motivations need to be understood in context and such understanding points to new insights regarding how opportunities can be structured to better facilitate civic involvement.

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Philanthropic Giving through Municipalities in Israel: An Alternative or a Threat to the Future of Philanthropy

Avishag Rudich-Cohn, 2010 Summer Fellow, Hebrew University

The aim of this paper is to investigate philanthropic giving to municipal Welfare departments as an example to giving through municipalities - what is the motivations of philanthropic actors to be engaged in such relationships, what are the modes for such giving and the effects to philanthropy and civil society. Conclusion will be drawn regarding giving through local authorities and municipalities in general and to developing philanthropic cultures specifically.

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