Publications by RGK Faculty

Hill Country Conservation: A Network and Narrative for Large-scale Collaborative Conservation

Tue, 08/23/2016

Publication Site

A Report to the Cynthia and George Mitchell Foundation

Executive Summary:

This report describes the joint research and practitioner-based effort to understand the network and narrative that shapes Hill Country conservation opportunities and outcomes. From April 2015-July 2016, we collected and analyzed over 40 hours of interview data and developed an extensive database of information in an attempt to better understand the organizations and agencies that work to make the Hill Country a socially and ecologically thriving landscape. Our mixed-methods research approach also included an online survey. Through these efforts, we believe that opportunities exist to improve coordination of activities, leverage and pool resources, increase and use social capital, enhance conflict management (i.e., prevention, reduction, resolution), and improve knowledge management (i.e., generation, translation, and diffusion). Understanding the inherent capacities that a networked approach provides can identify opportunities for successful conservation action by leveraging largely informal networks that bridge geographic, economic, cultural, and political differences. The report that follows summarizes these efforts and offers insights and recommendations based on the analysis.

Authors: R. Patrick Bixler, PhD and Ashley Noel Lovell, PhD

Download full report. (Adobe PDF)

The Research Gap in Social Entrepreneurship

Tue, 05/24/2016

Publication Site

A literature review of research on social entrepreneurship reveals that academics and practitioners seem to be operating in such separate spheres. RGK Center Adjunct Assistant Professor Mark Clayton Hand offers a look at why this is happening and what to do about it.

After Paris: Good Enough Climate Governance

Fri, 01/01/2016

Publication Site

“[F]or many developing countries, the Paris agreement is better than no deal and an important step in the right direction.”

Author: Joshua Busby

Visualizing the GIIN Impact Investing Network with Neo4j

Wed, 10/28/2015

Publication Site

Discover how graph visualizations of the Global Impact Investing Network could lead to better investment recommendations and entrepreneurial opportunities.

Authors: Mark Clayton Hand and Clare Zutz

Response to "The Payoff of Pay-for-Success"

Thu, 08/20/2015

Publication Site

In this response to a SSIR article by V. Kasturi Rangan & Lisa A. Chase, RGK Center Adjunct Assistant Professor Mark Clayton Hand and Nonprofit Studies Portfolio alumna Margo Johnson argue the case for including return-seeking investors and end beneficiaries in the design of Pay-For-Success programs.

Response to "Strategic Philanthropy and its Discontents"

Mon, 04/27/2015

Publication Site

Dr. Francie Ostrower, RGK Center Professor of Public Affairs and Fine Arts, submitted a response to Paul Brest's essay entitled, "Strategic Philanthropy and Its Discontents". Brest's essay and associated responses were based on a discussion that took place at a symposium sponsored by Stanford University's Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society and the Centre for Social Investment at Heidelberg University.

Read Dr. Ostrower's response here.

Hearts or minds? Identifying persuasive messages on climate change

Sun, 03/01/2015

Publication Site

Authors: Bethany Albertson, Ph.D. and Joshua William Busby, Ph.D.

Publication: Research and Politics, SAGE Publications

In this article, RGK Center Associate Professor Joshua Busby and co-author Bethany Albertson draw attention to the appeals that best persuade the U.S. public on climate change. Using an experimental design, Drs. Busby and Albertson assessed a diverse sample of 330 participants on their responses to four different appeals. The experiment yielded some surprising results particularly with regard to the impact that varying degrees of climate change knowledge had on participant response to the persuasive messaging. Read the full article here.

Online “Jams” as a Tool for Professional Development and Community Engagement

Sun, 02/01/2015

Authors: Sarah Jane Rehnborg, Ph.D.

Publication: International Journal of Volunteer Administration, "Volunteer Engagement & Management", Volume XXXI, No. 1 (February 2015)

This paper describes a teaching project that involved graduate students in nonprofit studies at the LBJ School of Public Affairs in a community engagement “crowdsourcing” effort focused on the topic of short-term volunteering. Students were responsible for organizing a one-day online brainstorming session, called a “jam,” in which geographically dispersed participants contributed to a 12-hour online discussion related to the topic with input from experts in the field. Based on a model developed by IBM, jams are sponsored by a variety of organizations around the world to engage virtual communities in online conversations on topics as diverse as global security and video game design. Major goals of the project were to have students explore this topic in volunteerism in depth and to provide experience for future nonprofit professionals in the design and management of community engagement events. Potential applications for similar events are discussed in the context of extending professional development and networking options for nonprofit capacity building and collaboration.

Full PDF - Available to IJOVA subscribers

Resident Feedback on the Restore Rundberg Community Survey

Thu, 01/01/2015

Publication Site

Authors: Yessenia Castro, Katie Casstevens, Barbara Garcia and David W. Springer
Publication: Professional Development: The International Journal of Continuing Social Work Education

A major goal of the Restore Rundberg project is to increase collective efficacy and community engagement, and community-level interventions are currently being implemented in this vein. In order to assess the effect of these interventions on collective efficacy and community engagement of Rundberg residents, researchers compiled a community survey that measures residents’ perceptions of these factors before and after implementation of interventions.

Restoring Rundberg: A Community-Research Partnership

Thu, 01/01/2015

Publication Site

Authors: David W. Springer, Michael Lauderdale, Kyran Fitzgerald and Donald Baker
Publication: Professional Development: The International Journal of Continuing Social Work Education

Researchers at the RGK Center for Philanthropy and Community Service, The University of Texas at Austin School of Social Work and the Austin Police Department (APD) have partnered with community leaders and stakeholders to Restore Rundberg, which aims to “improve the quality of life, health, safety, education, and well-being of individuals living and working in the Rundberg neighborhood.” Sustainable and innovative community engagement is at the core of this effort.

"Boards as an Accountability Mechanism"

Mon, 05/05/2014

By Dr. Francie Ostrower

“Boards as an Accountability Mechanism,” a paper by the RGK Center’s Dr. Francie Ostrower was published by the Urban Institute earlier this year. The May 2014 study examines board functioning in relation to both legal and broader conceptions of accountability and empirical evidence from over 5,100 nonprofits in the Urban Institute’s National Survey of Nonprofit Governance. Read more and access the paper here.


Juvenile Justice Sourcebook

Fri, 03/28/2014

Publication Site

David W. Springer, Albert R. Roberts  and Wesley T. Church II, editors

Several million reported and unreported delinquent acts take place each year. In fact, according to the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics, juvenile delinquency, acting-out and oppositional behavior, illegal drugs, guns, and youth violence are pervasive throughout American society. Juvenile Justice Sourcebook is the first comprehensive volume devoted exclusively to the biopsychosocial assessment, police and juvenile court processing, and institutional and community-based treatment and rehabilitation of juvenile offenders. The overriding objective of this sourcebook is to trace the tremendous progress achieved toward resolving juvenile justice issues, dilemmas, and controversies, while providing futuristic visions for the juvenile justice field. Each chapter, authored by preeminent expert practitioners and researchers, explores topics ranging from innovative counseling and multisystemic programs, to restorative justice, to rehabilitation programs such as aggression replacement training, wilderness programs, family treatment, substance abuse treatment, restitution, and aftercare.

This volume, grounded in history and exhaustive research, presents the latest evidence-based policies, programs, and innovative treatment alternatives. Examining the entire juvenile justice system, including juvenile law, policies, practices, and research, the Juvenile Justice Sourcebook will be invaluable to all juvenile justice practitioners, policy analysts, researchers, and students.

Church, W. T., Springer, D. W., & Roberts, A. R. (Eds.) (2014). Juvenile justice sourcebook (2nd ed). New York, NY: Oxford University Press.

The Professor Is In: Classroom Techniques That Capture Critical Issues in Volunteer Management

Mon, 04/01/2013

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.

Challenges in Volunteer Resource Management

Wed, 02/13/2013

by Dr. Sarah Jane Rehnborg and Margaret Moore

Challenges in Volunteer Resource Management, an article by the RGK Center’s Margaret Moore and Dr. Sarah Jane Rehnborg, was published in the December 2013 issue of the International Journal of Volunteer Administration. The paper presents findings of a study to identify top challenges in volunteer resource management based on surveys of stakeholders at diverse nonprofit organizations. Identifying meaningful volunteer roles, recruiting a sufficient number of volunteers, and recruiting volunteers with particular skill sets were reported as the three top challenges. Some differences between larger and smaller organizations in terms of both recruitment and management challenges were indicated. In addition, identified challenges varied based on the organizational role of the respondent.
Meg Moore is graduate research assistant and Dr. Rehnborg is interim director of the RGK Center for Philanthropy and Community Service at the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs. 

Set in Stone—RGK researchers collaborate on study of America’s “cultural infrastructure”

Thu, 06/28/2012

by Dr. Peter Frumkin and Ana Kolendo

The RGK Center’s former director Peter Frumkin and research associate Anastasia Kolendo collaborated on a national study of arts facilities published by the Cultural Policy Center at the University of Chicago. Set in Stone looks at the major building boom of museums, performing arts centers, and theaters in the United States from 1994 to 2008. The goal of the study was to establish research that would serve as a resource for any cultural group in the country involved in planning the construction, renovation, or expansion of its facilities. The work was based on interviews with people in more than 500 organizations and drew data from more than 700 building projects, including both new facilities and major renovations.

Set in Stone is a joint project of the University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy Studies and the independent research organization NORC at the University of Chicago. The study was supported by grants from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, The Kresge Foundation, and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. Additional support was provided by the Rockefeller Brothers Fund. Read the final report and access related resources here.

Data from the study are the basis for a book by Frumkin and Kolendo forthcoming in 2013 from the University of Chicago Press. Building for the Arts: Toward Strategic Design looks at the complex process of building major cultural facilities and proposes a conceptual framework and theory of successful cultural infrastructure construction. A related video, What Building Projects Can Teach Us About Big Decisions, narrated by Peter Frumkin, gives management advice for people involved in projects.


Foundation Sunsetting

Wed, 09/14/2011

by Dr. Francie Ostrower

Two reports on foundation “sunsetting” by the RGK Center’s Francie Ostrower are available from the Aspen Institute. The reports, which provide important lessons and a guide to decision-making for foundations that “sunset” or “spend down” and close rather than continue in perpetuity, were released by the Aspen Institute’s Program on Philanthropy and Social Innovation. The reports are based on a research study conducted by Dr. Ostrower with a grant awarded by the Aspen Institute.

Sunsetting: A Framework for Foundation Life as Well as Death uses detailed case studies to understand why and how foundations decide to terminate. By discussing the common themes, challenges, and opportunities associated with sunsetting, the report shows how limiting a foundation’s life can be a strategy for innovative and effective philanthropy.

Foundation Sunset: A Decision-Making Guide is a practical companion piece drawing on the case studies that shows how donors and trustees can use sunsetting as a philanthropic strategy consistent with their values, circumstances, and motivations. The report serves as a useful guide to help donors and trustees design a blueprint for shutting down.

More information.

The Strategic Management of Charter Schools: Frameworks and Tools for Educational Entrepreneurs

Thu, 09/01/2011

Publication Site

by Peter Frumkin, Bruno V. Manno, and Nell Edgington

The Strategic Management of Charter Schools addresses the challenges facing such schools by mapping out, in straightforward and highly pragmatic terms, a management framework for them.

The first charter school law in the United States was enacted in Minnesota in 1991. In the twenty years since that modest beginning, the movement has burgeoned and spread across the country: there are now more than five thousand charter schools attended by nearly two million students. Yet due to this rapid growth in the number of charter schools and to their generally independent character, the nature and quality of these institutions vary greatly. The promise of charter schools is great, but so are the organizational and educational challenges they face.

Organized around three crucial challenges to charter school leaders—managing mission, managing internal operations, and managing the larger stakeholder environment—the book provides charter school leaders with indispensable tools and insights for achieving educational and organizational success. In its elucidation of these managerial challenges, and in its equally helpful and detailed examinations of particular schools, the book offers a clear, credible approach to the efficient and sustainable management of what are still young and experimental educational institutions.

The Strategic Management of Charter Schools is a volume in the Educational Innovations series.

(via Harvard Education Press)

This book is a brilliant combination of theory and real-world cases. Free of the pointscoring common in charter school books, it focuses on the breakthroughs and mistakes made by people dedicated to the success of poor and minority children. Potential charter starters will learn from this book and so should those who know little about charter schools but support or oppose them on partisan or ideological grounds.

— Paul T. Hill, John and Marguerite Corbally Professor and director, Center on Reinventing Public Education, University of Washington, Bothell

The Strategic Management of Charter Schools should be required reading for anyone thinking about opening a charter school, anyone currently leading a charter school, and anyone sitting on the board of a charter school.

— Richard Barth, CEO, KIPP Foundation

Moral Movements and Foreign Policy

Sun, 10/31/2010

Publication Site

by Joshua Busby

Why do advocacy campaigns succeed in some cases but fail in others? What conditions motivate states to accept commitments championed by principled advocacy movements? Joshua Busby sheds light on these core questions through an investigation of four cases - developing country debt relief, climate change, AIDS, and the International Criminal Court - in the G-7 advanced industrialized countries (Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States).

Drawing on hundreds of interviews with policy practitioners, he employs qualitative, comparative case study methods, including process-tracing and typologies, and develops a framing/gatekeepers argument, emphasizing the ways in which advocacy campaigns use rhetoric to tap into the main cultural currents in the countries where they operate. Busby argues that when values and costs potentially pull in opposing directions, values will win if domestic gatekeepers who are able to block policy change believe that the values at stake are sufficiently important.

Joshua Busby applies the “Page 99 Test” to Moral Movements and Foreign Policy.

The Essence of Strategic Giving A Practical Guide for Donors and Fundraisers

Wed, 09/15/2010

Publication Site

by Peter Frumkin

In the face of global financial problems and stressed government budgets, the ability of private philanthropy to step in and help solve public problems and support vital private institutions as well has perhaps never been more important. But how can donors be sure their contributions will be effective? And how can fundraisers make their case for support in a way that is compelling and productive?

With The Essence of Strategic Giving, Peter Frumkin distills the lessons of his comprehensive, award-winning study, Strategic Giving, into a concise, practical guide for everyone involved in private philanthropy, from donors to managers of nonprofits to fund-raisers. He defines five critical challenges that all donors must address if their philanthropy is to amount to more than indiscriminate charity, including being aware of the time frame that guides a gift, specifying the intended impact being pursued, and recognizing how a donation fits with a donor's own identity and style. Acknowledging and understanding these fundamental, strategic aspects of giving, Frumkin argues, will help ensure philanthropy that more effectively achieves its aims and at the same time builds a lasting relationship between donors and the institutions they support.

As the next generation of donors wrestle with the challenge of effectively distributing what Andrew Carnegie called "surplus wealth," Frumkin's road map will be an indispensable resource for years to come.


Inheritance in Contemporary America: The Social Dimensions of Giving across Generations

Fri, 12/21/2007

by Jacqueline L. Angel

RGK Center Faculty Fellow Jacqueline Angel has a new book on volunteering entitled Inheritance in Contemporary America: The Social Dimensions of Giving across Generations. In this book, she "tackles the complex legal, policy, and emotional issues that surround bequests and inheritances in an era of increasing longevity, broadening ethnicity, and unraveling social safety nets. Through empirical analyses, case studies, interviews, and anecdotes, Jacqueline L. Angel explains the historical nature of familial giving and how it is changing as the nation's demographics shift. She explores the legal, personal, and policy complexities involved in passing wealth down through generations and provides a cross-disciplinary context for exploring the indelible effects that newly unfolding inheritance practices will have on various societal cohorts and the nation in general.

From nuclear and extended families to the state and nongovernmental bodies, Angel's engaging study explores how attitudes toward giving are evolving and confronts in stark terms the legacy that these shifts in attitude will leave. This book will be a vital tool for scholars and practitioners in gerontology, sociology, psychology, anthropology, economics, political science, and public policy."