Remembering Lester Salamon

Following word of Dr. Lester Salamon's passing on August 20, 2021, we have received messages from friends and colleagues from all corners of the globe reflecting the breadth and depth of his impact—not only on the field of civil society studies, but on the careers and personal journeys of those who had the opportunity to meet and learn from him. We have collected these online tributes, personal remembrances, and photos here.


Center for Civil Society Studies Statement on the Passing of Lester Salamon
Megan Haddock & Chelsea Newhouse, August 23, 2021

Reflections on Lester Salamon: Ben Gidron & Edith Archambault
Ben Gidron & Edith Archambault, September 17, 2021

Reflections on Lester Salamon: Zhang Yuanfeng
Zhang Yuanfeng, September 24, 2021

Reflections on Lester Salamon: Dennis Young & Kirsten Grønbjerg
Dennis Young & Kirsten Grønbjerg, October 1, 2021

Reflections on Lester Salamon: Stephanie Geller
Stephanie Geller, October 8, 2021


In Memory of Lester Salamon
Balázs Gerencsér, Gábor Hegyesi, Éva Kuti, Miklós Marschall, István Sebestény, and Marianna Török, Hungarian Civil Review, December 2021 (Hungarian pp. 5-29; English pp. 31-54)

Scholar Salamon Crafted Lenses to Better See Civil Society—Will We Wear Them?
Megan Haddock, Nonprofit Quarterly, October 5, 2021

Explaining Civil Society Development II: The Social Origins Theory
Excerpt from Explaining Civil Society Development: A Social Origins Approach (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2017)

Scholar Lester M. Salamon Changed How We Think About the Nonprofit World
Leslie Lenkowski, The Chronicle of Philanthropy, August 31, 2021

EFC mourns the loss of Dr. Lester M. Salamon, a true pioneer of research on philanthropy
European Foundation Centre, August 31, 2021

Lester Salamon, Johns Hopkins University director, nonprofit researcher, dies
Rose Wagner, The Baltimore Sun, August 29, 2021

The man who found the non-profit "subcontinent" is gone
Zheng Yuanfeng , Weixin, China, August 27, 2021

In Memorium: Lester M. Salamon
International Society for Third-Sector Research, August 26, 2021

Nachruf Prof. Dr. Lester M. Salamon
Maecenata Institute, Germany, August 26, 2021

Lester Salamon, Paladino da Sociedade Civil
IDIS, Brasil, August 25, 2021

Addio a Lester Salamon, L’uomo Che Misurava il Volontariato
Ksenija Fonovic, Reti Solidali, Italy, August 25, 2021

Remembering Lester Salamon
ARNOVA, August 25, 2021 (video)

Famed NPO Researcher Lester Salamon Dies
Mark Hrywna, The Non-Profit Times, August 24, 2021

Pioneering nonprofit researcher Lester M. Salamon dies at 78
Philanthropy News Digest, Candid, August 24, 2021

Lester Salamon, one of the most famous researchers in the nonprofit sector, dies
ASI (Social Information Agency), Russian Federation, August 24, 2021

Remembering Lester Salamon
Fund the People, August 24, 2021

Statement on the Passing of Dr. Lester Salamon
National Council of Nonprofits, August 23, 2021

Lester Milton Salamon: In Memoriam
HSE University, Russian Federation, undated


Below is a collection of personal reflections, thoughts, tributes, and remembrances from Dr. Salamon's colleagues around the world. If you would like to add your thoughts to this collection, please use the form below.

International Colleagues

Jeremy Kendall, United Kingdom
Lester was a truly inspirational figure for so many people across the globe working in this area. He was surely a leading light in developing and consolidating third sector and nonprofit sector research as a recognised international, multi-disciplinary and inter-disciplinary field of scholarship. He has been admired and respected by so many scholars and practitioners in this area of study for so long, and his influence has been so extensive—and will be so enduring—that it is hard to know where to start!

But from a personal perspective I can say without hesitation that Lester’s contributions—in the thoughtfulness and fair-mindedness of his writings, and through the energetic and engaging nature of his in-person interventions at many meetings, fora and conferences—were decisive in moving me to make this area of study the prime focus of my work for most of my academic career. I focused on the UK and European countries, often as part of projects where he had a leading role. He inspired confidence that it was all important and worthwhile, and indeed an especially fascinating and rich area for analysis and exploration. What is more, he never seemed to lose the wonderful combination of intellectual curiosity and  wily realism, of vision and practicality, that came across when I first met him in the early 1990s. this was still shining through when I was privileged to last be working with him on the EU’s third sector impact project quite recently.

He was of course enormously successful in getting things done: as a fundraiser and steered numerous highly complex collaborative national and international projects to fruition and impact. But what I will remember most fondly about him will be the underlying depth of his humaneness, and how this shaped his approach to research; the enormous breadth of his intellectual horizons; the sheer strength and durability of his numerous scholarly insights; and the many ways in which he would always lead by example, and instill confidence, at every stage of a research project.

May he rest in peace, he will be sorely missed.

Jeremy Kendall
University of Kent

National Research University Higher School of Economics, Russia
On behalf of the Center for Studies of Civil Society and the Nonprofit Sector at the National Research University Higher School of Economics, Moscow, Russia, we extend our sincerest condolences to Dr. Salamon’s family and to the team of the Johns Hopkins Center for Civil Society Studies.

We are deeply saddened by Dr. Salamon’s passing as we were highly privileged to work in collaboration with this outstanding scholar and a visionary leader in the field of third sector studies. Today we all shared our warmest personal and professional memories of Dr. Salamon who used to come to Moscow on quite a few occasions. His presentations at the Higher School of Economics sparked keen interest among broadest circles of Russian experts, researchers and government officials. All those who met Dr. Salamon were highly impressed by his great mind, vision and equally, by his warm and outgoing personality.

Dr. Salamon’s colleagues and partners pay tribute to his unmatched impact and great personality. He will be deeply missed by all who were privileged to know him.

Dr. Lev Jakobson
Vice President of the National Research University Higher School of Economics
Research Supervisor of the Center for Studies of Civil Society and the Nonprofit Sector
Moscow, Russian Federation

Irina Mersianova

Center for Studies of Civil Society and the Nonprofit Sector
National Research University Higher School of Economics
Moscow, Russian Federation

Vladimir Benevolenski, Russia
I learned this morning that Lester is no longer with us. Please accept my sincere condolences.

It is a great loss for all of us. I want you to know that I feel I have lost a teacher and a friend, a co-author working with whom it was a pleasure, fun, a great experience. I will cherish Lester's memory.

Please let his family know Lester had friends in Moscow who will warmly remember him!

Vladimir Benevolenski
National Research University Higher School of Economics
Moscow, Russian Federation

Natalya Ivanova, Russia
I am mourning Lester's passing very deeply. Any time he came to Russia, I used to meet him at the airport, take him to the hotel and see to it that he was settled comfortably. I was his interpreter on many occasions and in different settings, arranging meetings for him and knowing his interest priorities. He had a special interest in the development of new forms of philanthropy and we planned to finalize a paper on social impact investment in Russia. Once, I recall, it must have been some time in 2015, when he was here as the research director of the International Lab, he suggested we meet on Sunday or Saturday to develop a questionnaire on social impact investment. And instead of spending his day off at leisure, he came to the HSE empty facilities and we spent the entire day off developing the questionnaire that was later distributed among Russian investment companies. He gave me a fantastic lesson of methodological rigor and thoroughness. And we have his precious gift, the edition of the New Frontiers of Philanthropy with his address: "For my wonderful colleagues at the HSE International Laboratory for Nonprofit Sector Studies... Lester. 22 September 2017."

A world renowned academic, he was a warm and outgoing personality, open and mindful of others. Something really personal that is breaking my heart: A few years ago my mother passed away and I went to a city outside of Moscow where she had lived. It meant a break in our communication with Lester and I told him why there was a lapse in our communication. He wrote back saying that he still thinks of his mother as if she is just a phone call away. I can't forget his words and will never forget them. And now it hurts so much to speak of Lester in the past tense.

Lester's memory is a blessing for all of us who had a privilege to know him.

Natalya Ivanova
National Research University Higher School of Economics
Moscow, Russian Federation

Riccardo Guidi, Tania Cappadozzi, and Ksenija Fonovic, Italy
With sorrow, some days ago we learned about the death of Dr. Lester Salamon.

We forged our different perspectives and expertise—scholar’s, statistician’s and practitioner’s —into a long lasting partnership that steered collaborations with a vast and varied network of colleagues. In the last ten years Dr. Salamon was a constant and authoritative reference for the long, thrilling, innovative process through which the ILO Manual on the Measurement of Volunteer Work has been implemented in the Italian official statistics and new data were recollected, elaborated, disseminated, and used by different actors at national and international level.

As final stage of this process, we involved Dr. Salamon in the book “Accounting for the varieties of volunteering.” We clearly remember his generosity and impetus both in accepting our proposal of writing one of the key-chapters and in the long path up to the recent publication.

These are not only memories. Albeit there has been no lack of occasions of disagreement, we feel deeply in debt to Dr. Salamon. His ambition to “measure” volunteering and its values in a standard way across the globe constitutes one of the most relevant challenges of nonprofit studies. And the steps he made up to the adoption of the ILO Manual and its implementation are a milestone for academia, official statistics, practitioners, and policy-makers.

We wish that all the community of practice around nonprofit will carry on inspired by Lester’s force, enthusiasm, and determination in the next steps towards the completion of Lester’s aspiration. We will certainly continue to work on this and nurture collaborations.

Riccardo Guidi
University of Pisa

Tania Cappadozzi

Ksenija Fonovic
CSV Lazio

Lyubov Palyvoda, Ukraine
My deepest condolences. I am shocked and very upset. Saying this I believe Lester had a great life and made unmeasurable contributions to the development of the third sector throughout the world. His ideas, knowledge and human features are respected by both friends and opponents. His desire to help and promote the third sector's significance and scientific approach in studying the sector will not be forgotten and be used for many years to come.

I do remember Lester’s attention and attitude during the three meetings during 2004 - 2018 I had with him. Latest fellowship in 2018 was a blessing for the Ukrainian team - we were part of your Center work and all of you shared with us your knowledge and experience.

Kindness, endless love to work he was doing, great dinners and humor are with us forever and serving us as a guiding star.

Lyubov Palyvoda, PhD (Rutgers-NJ University, USA)
Independent Consultant
CCC Creative Center (Ukraine), Founder & President

Ignacio Irarrázaval, Chile
I have just learnt the very sad news of Lester's passing over. I just want to remark my tremendous gratitude to Lester, for his encouragement and guidance throughout many years in our theme of civil society studies, he was a super leader indeed….!!!

So many people, researchers, lecturers were gathered by Lester's enthusiasm and leadership in this very wide, complex  but nice challenge of the nonprofit sector.

I am very impressed as the picture published in the statement of the Center for Civil Society Studies, is precisely in the launching of the second version of the Chilean CNP study at Catholic University of Chile.

Ignacio Irarrázaval 
Centro de Políticas Públicas UC

Boris Strecansky, Slovakia
I have had the privilege to collaborate with Lester since 2011 as a research associate in the PtP project covering Central and Eastern Europe and Central Asia. Through project-related events, I had a chance to meet a famous person whom I knew only from books and articles on the third sector research. In our encounters, he always impressed me with his calmness, friendliness and personal responsiveness. I felt so strongly his passion, determination and commitment to the cause that he - with my remote support and support of many others - persistently advanced - whether it was the academic work or project work. I felt concomitant to it - as so many of us are who are engaged in the third sector and civil society research and practice. He was both, a lighthouse that beamed new ideas and searched through the dark. And the rock, a solid matter with a strong gravitation field, around which others parts of the universe coagulate, connect or bifurcate.

I consider him to be my distant informal tutor, although we did not have it formalized. He gladly provided references to my applications to my studies at Princeton and feedback on my work. These have certainly influenced and changed my life.

My last memory with him is in his late ISTR seminar talk last year, where he shared his life-long lessons learned on the state of non-profit sector theory, civil society research and what is essential in it. One thing that stayed with me was the importance of a puzzle that drives the search for the answer. It is so crucial in one's work to have a puzzle to deal with.

The puzzle of life is the ultimate puzzle.

Thank you, Lester, for everything.

Boris Strecansky
Senior Expert, Center for Philanthropy, Slovakia

& PhD. Student, Institute of European Studies and International Relations
Faculty of Social and Economic Sciences
Comenius University, Bratislava, Slovakia

Nana Afadzinu, Ghana
I have heard of the unfortunate passing of Dr. Lester Salamon a few days ago. On behalf of the West African Civil Society Institute (WACSI) and myself, I would like to express our deepest condolences to the Salamon family and the non-profit community that Dr. Lester Salamon has worked so closely for and with for many years of his life. He has made an invaluable contribution to the growth of the non-profit sector and the understanding of its workings, not only amongst people working in the sector but many others that work with it. We will always be grateful for his contribution.

May his soul rest in perfect peace.

Nana Asantewa Afadzinu
Executive Director
West Africa Civil Society Institute (WACSI), Ghana

Tae Kyu Park, Korea
It was very sad news for all Korean colleagues who know what Dr. Lester Salamon had done in the field of nonprofit sector. I passed around the passing of Dr. Salamon to my friends who had good memories of working together with him or those who know his outstanding contributions to our field.

We, Korean colleagues, will remember him as well as his academic achievements in our field. On behalf of my Korean colleagues, I would like to send our sincere condolences to his family as well as Johns Hopkins colleagues.

Tae Kyu Park
Yonsei University
Seoul, Korea

Blake Bromley, Canada
Lester Salamon’s conceptualization of civil society was global and informed by prodigious amounts of meticulously researched data. He introduced me to the discipline (and frustration) of constructing an intellectually coherent taxonomy of non-profit organizations which was constrained by academic rigour.

While Lester’s academic credentials and endeavours were unimpeachable, the true measure of his understanding of the charitable sector was his appreciation that ultimately the sector was about people rather than statistics. He demonstrated this by creating an innovative network of international fellows in philanthropy who incarnated the values and aspirations of both their native countries and a global movement.

Thank you for your leadership, Lester. You will be remembered and missed.

Blake Bromley
Founder, Benefic Group

Pippo Ranci, Italy

I met Lester when attending the Session 252 of the Salzburg Seminar in American Studies on “The Role of Nonprofit Institutions” in 1986. His description and discussion of the nonprofit institutions in the States and of their inspiration, variety, and challenges was neat and illuminating. His way of teaching was warm without any loss of realism.

When he launched the John Hopkins Comparative Nonprofit Sector Project, I decided to organize an Italian team and join the ongoing adventure of collecting worldwide information, comparing data cross-country, and reflecting on all bits of evidence we could assemble.

The Project was effective in unleashing a debate for which Italy was ready. It was instrumental in pushing our national statistical office to start collecting data on the sector a few years later. Young  researchers like Gian Paolo Barbetta seized the opportunity of becoming experts in the field, and their knowledge and commitment proved precious in the growth of new institutions in Italy.

In 1990, a political decision was taken to set up a new breed of Foundations, as owners of the numerous and wealthy local community banks. Initially this decision was generally perceived as a change in little more than name, and the newly born Foundations mainly behaved as bank shareholders. Their potential mission as actors and supporters of the nonprofit sector and promoters of pacesetting innovation was slowly understood and enacted, and here again I must remember Lester’s lecture “Foundations, American Style: an Overview” in Milano (1997) as a precious help.

For me, Lester has been a teacher, an organizer, a mentor, and a friend.

Pippo Ranci
Advisor, Florence School of Regulation
European University Institute

Fan Fangchun, China
I had the honor and privilege to meet Dr. Salamon during his visit in China in 2016. His erudition and kindness have guided and lighted up my way of research. I am deeply saddened hearing the news. However, his gentle soul will always be in my heart.

Fan Fangchun

Sybille Mertins, Belgium
It is with great emotion that I learn this morning of the passing of our colleague Lester Salamon (Johns Hopkins University). He has been a pioneer in research on non-profit organizations (association sector) and the Center for Social Economy had the great honor of working with him in developing an information system on associations that is compatible with accounts national (it's called a satellite account). He made sure to ensure that the economic weight of these organizations is recognized, both academically and in the highest institutional spheres. On a more personal level, I retain the charisma of a leader, the perseverance of a persuader, and the effective pragmatism of a North American citizen. A true source of inspiration.

Sibylle Mertins
Centre for Social Economy

HEC Management School
University of Liège, Belgium

Oyebisi Babatunde Oluseyi, Nigeria
It is with deep regret that we have learned that Dr. Lester M. Salamon, Director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Civil Society Studies died on 20 August 2021.

Dr Salamon’s death came at a time when the Nigeria Network of NGOs——was considering an outreach to him and the Center to learn more about the measurement of the economic impact of nonprofits through analysis of jobs and volunteering among others. The Network has followed Dr. Salamon’s work and the Center for over 5 years.

We should be grateful if you will convey our heartfelt condolences and recognition of Dr. Salamon’s services on nonprofit research to the entire team at the Johns Hopkins Center for Civil Society Studies, his wife Lynda, sons Noah and Matt including his grandchildren and siblings.

We would like to express to you our appreciation of Dr. Salamon’s contribution to the growth of civil society research globally.

Oyebisi, B. Oluseyi
Executive Director
Nigeria Network of NGOs

Pierre-Gerlier Forest, Canada
Lester has been more than a colleague to me; he was also a friend and mentor. His academic reputation was unrivaled. Among all the reasons I had to join Johns Hopkins in 2013, I must mention our initial meeting in a tired office of Hampton House on Broadway ... We had the most fascinating conversation about his book on policy instruments, which I consider as his masterwork and which I still use and quote. He will be missed.

Pierre-Gerlier Forest, PhD, FCAHS
School of Public Policy, University of Calgary
Director of the Johns Hopkins Institute for Health and Social Policy, 2013-2016

Yibin Chu, China
I still recall vividly the first day I met Professor Salamon at the MPP program orientation – 15 years ago – I told him “I read your work in China and you are the reason I applied for the program.” He seemed flattered and joked, ”you should tell Jennifer (then Program director)!” I was lucky to have him as my academic advisor during my study. He gave me a lot of great advice both academic and professional, which I am still benefiting [from] today. After graduation, we remained in contact and I often consulted him on his expert view and advice on my work related decisions. We were still exchanging emails a couple months ago on a course I am developing on collaborative governance and corporate social responsibility. The news is really too sudden. I am forever inspired by his energy and passion for work, and unwavering dedication to excellence and precision.

Yibin Chu
Head of Community Investing and Development
Citi Asia Pacific

Gloria Cid Gerlach, Spain
We cannot express the sadness we feel at this time. We remember Lester as a fine and kind man who was always so full of energy and always eager to advance and improve in his project so ambitious and so interesting for our institution.

We are very grateful and we will remember him for the excellent work he did about “la Caixa” Foundation’s transformation. Without any doubt it was a very important contribution for us.

He will be sadly missed by many.

Gloria Cid Gerlach
“la Caixa” Foundation
Head Representative of the United States Office

Charles Buchanan, Portugal
I can't thank you for this horrible news, but thank you for sharing it with me which, I would certainly hope, as I was, I think, Lester's principal partner here in Portugal. And you sent it to the Luso American Foundation where I worked as a VP for over 20 years, and [organized], with Lester, virtually all the meetings, conferences, trips, visits, and so forth. He was like a brother when he came to town, but the brains of everything we did []...

This is a huge loss to me personally but as you write very well, and nicely in your letter, the world has lost its leader in Lester's domain, and lost a brave and persistent explorer in the fields where he excelled, capturing all data available for the mostly undocumented voluntary sector, and we did that precisely here in Portugal. We fought through meetings with the National Statistics Agency to convince them to establish a category—which exists today—to capture all activities in the voluntary sector. That was Lester.  And there were so many other things, like the sectoral study of the Voluntary sector done under Lester's guidance, and so many conferences to raise awareness and generate activities.

Charles Buchanan
Luso-American Foundation [Ret.]

Juan-Cruz Alli Turrillas, Spain
I was extremely lucky and privileged to meet Professor Lester M. Salamon during the 41st ARNOVA Meeting (2014) in Chicago. True to his style, he made a brilliant, sharp, complete, and concise intervention of less than 5 minutes to explain the (then) most recent great project on which he had embarked: “Philanthropication thru Privatization.” We realized that we could work on a case study of a major Spanish example of this phenomenon together and he really embarked me on this big project that is still going. For just a discreet local scholar studying the legal regime of foundations in various countries, as I was at the time I met him, the impression of his person, manners, and work has been indelibly recorded and confirmed in all and each of our professional meetings. It is the impression of those kind of persons who really leave their mark; now I will explain why.

Professor Salamon was many things, professionally and academically speaking. In all of them, he stood out for his good work, his depth, and a simplicity that only great minds are capable of conveying to the reader. His scientific achievements, his doctrinal path, either as a direct author or as an intellectual promoter, are well known, so it does not really seem necessary to recall them. If we resort to the maxim "by their fruits ye shall know them," the legacy that Professor Salamon has left us is enormous, deep, and lasting, in the sense that it will be difficult—if not impossible—to live up to it, or to even get close to him. His capacity and intellectual drive were formidable, and many others can surely continue in the study of the ‘third sector’ thanks, precisely, to standing “on the shoulders of a giant” as he was, absolutely.

But for all of us who knew him personally, and were directed in one way or another by him, Professor Salamon was “our dear Lester." A personable, affectionate, close, attentive person. Someone who was able to foster and demand of his researchers, in a measured manner and with doses of empathy, closeness, and an ability to understand the other. A person who earned people’s love because he did so in advance. He loved what he did and he also had a great deal of affection for those who worked with him. He helped, guided, and coordinated us, and helped us improve the intellectual analysis we made by ourselves. This, and no other reason, is why he was able to complete so many universal research projects, conducted with and through people of all nations, cultures, and identities.

He was very clear about things and saw the true essence of the aspects he was analyzing, without getting lost in the twists and turns of an excessive academic and baroque intellectualism, attuned to the core of issues he and his study collaborators analyzed. All of these “Research Projects” were rigorous university studies that were often quoted or had links all over the world, and at the same time, profoundly practical and operational endeavors, that have served to improve things for many institutions and countries.

Although I did not know him in that facet, I am sure that he was also a committed, trustworthy, and honorable public servant, strongly committed to the common good of his country and of the human race in its entirety.

What I was able to observe, and was specifically impressed by, was his keen capacity for observation and understanding of realities outside his own, and his enormous ability to question the "common practices and places"—not always correct ones—of other institutional cultures. This was helped a lot not only by his recognized intellectual qualities but above all by his empathy and kindness in doing so.

So, Lester, a great man, a huge intellectual, a fine person capable of joining forces and manifesting himself not with words but with deeds, in the sense that we are all human beings in a common world, in which he manifested his best side. The only thing that helps us overcome the sadness of his personal loss is the enormity of his legacy. Shalom forever, and thank you with all the truths of my soul, Lester. Thank you, Lynda, whom I accompany with all my heart.

P.S. Lester, a personal and affectionate last word. Everything I have just taken many lines to write, you would have asked me to write it in less than half. I was never able to do it despite your insistence, but I think that every line written about you is well deserved.

Juan-Cruz Alli Turrillas
Full Professor of Law, UNED (Madrid, Spain)
PtP Case Study Associate

Slawomir Nalecz, Poland
Lester has been always here, always standing firm, elegant and active, leading us to new directions of research on the non-profit sector, volunteer work or the third / social economy sector.

For the last 24 years prof. Lester Salamon has been my scientific guru—starting in 1997 when I became a “data person” of Polish Team within the JHU Comparative Nonprofit Sector Project, through cooperation in elaborating Global Civil Society vol. 1 and 2, cooperation in producing and implementing of the ILO Manual on the Measurement of Volunteer Work, Third Sector Impact project, and the most recent cooperation supporting implementation of the UN TSE Sector Handbook in Spain and Luxembourg—just to name the milestones of our cooperation.

For me and for other associates from dozens of cooperating countries he was a true leader both in terms of his character, as a teamwork organizer, and as a scientific inspiration. As for the scientific inspiration I must mention that in my PhD dissertation on the nonprofit sector in contemporary Poland benefited profoundly from the terminology and concept of the nonprofit sector developed within the JHU Comparative Nonprofit Sector Project and mainstreamed mainly by Lester’s effort.

Also, when I became deputy director of Social Surveys Department in the Statistics Poland, my whole program of establishing [a] stable system of third sector statistics was inspired by the ideas and terminology developed in projects headed by Lester. Statistics Poland even became the first national statistical institution to successfully implement volunteer work measurement in 2011. What is more—the positive vibe of Lester’s approach to generating data on the Third Sector was so huge that I managed to gather representatives of national statistics from 15 countries for a conference in Warsaw just by inviting Lester to be the key note speaker!

Seriously speaking—the irresistible strength of Lester’s influence on official statistics and academia discourse concerning the Third Sector was so spectacular due to Lester’s unique ability to mainstream the concepts and methods developed in the realm of philanthropy and academia into documents of official statistics (e.g. Handbook on Non-Profit Institutions in the System of National Accounts issued by UN Statistics Division in 2003, Manual on the Measurement of Volunteer Work issued by ILO in 2011, Handbook of National Accounting: Satellite Account on Non-profit and Related Institutions and Volunteer Work issued by UN Statistics Division in 2018).

I could go on [about] Lester’s heritage in [the] academic world and in other spheres but I am sure everybody knows that the list of his books and articles is too long to discuss it here.

For me, Professor Lester Salamon has always been the most influential scholar in the field of my greatest scientific interest—the Third Sector’s statistics.

Thinking back on what I gained not only just collaborating with Lester as a great scholar and leader of the whole international net of third sector scientists, but also in terms of some pleasant time we happened to spend in Warsaw or in Polish Embassy in Moscow, I feel I was very lucky. I will keep these warm memories in my heart and [in] these ways Lester will stay with me, the same way as Wojciech Sokolowski who was my other hero and also [a] faithful friend during all these years.

Finally I wanted to say thank you to all friends and collaborators whom I met due to the projects led by Lester Salamon. It was good to work in such a great company and I hope there will be occasions for further cooperation—also to commemorate our great leader, Prof. Lester Salamon.

Slawomir Nalecz
National coordinator of research and analysis, Youth Impact Project
Foundation in Support for Local Democracy

Pooran Chandra Pandey, India
I am truly shocked to hear the sad news of untimely passing away of Dr. Salamon who was not only an accomplished academic but a great human being in equal measure who had a rare knack of instantly attracting people to his persona by the virtue of his wisdom, knowledge, and above all, exceptional oration.

I have fond memories of him when, at my request, he kindly agreed to come to India to advise and guide the national satellite accounting process to quantify [the] voluntary sector's contribution to India's gross domestic product in partnership with the Indian government and ILO. I personally had a lot to learn from him through personal interactions and the process of the research task that subsequently followed. More importantly, hearing him out and listening to his views and thoughts on the third sector was indeed a pure delight. He could convince even cynics with dexterity of his experience and clarity of thoughts on issues that he so well exemplified and represented, in sum total.

What makes me even more reminiscent of his memory is his kindness, courage, and readiness to tap the talent and potential of people. I recall vividly that during ISTR's conference in China, he made a special exception in inviting me and took full care of my needs even while I was in no way associated or affiliated to ISTR, which he so ably presided over. I would always remember him as a liberal democrat and humanist who transcended narrow national boundaries and acted in the wider and larger interest of global civil society. He was a true internationalist in his approach and a dedicated soul to his profession. In his demise, the world is poorer substantively by what Dr. Salamon's contributed to the evolution and development of international civil society, and I on my part will, sadly miss him for what I learnt from him.

Pooran Chandra Pandey
Member of the Board of Trustees
World Food Programme Trust for India
New Delhi, India

United States Colleagues

Dennis R. Young
It’s hard to overstate the contributions that Lester Salamon made to the field of nonprofit sector studies. He was one of a small handful of scholars who literally established the field and perhaps the most impactful of all of them. He was both a theorist and an empiricist, and profoundly influential on both scores. On the theoretical side, he gave us the theory of third party government, explaining why nonprofits were partners with governments rather than just substitutes. And, along with Helmut Anheier, he articulated the social origins theory to help us understand why the character of the nonprofit sector varied among different countries around the world. But as much as his development of theory influenced generations of scholars and policymakers, it was his contribution to the data infrastructure on the nonprofit sector that was his towering achievement.

I once had the opportunity to introduce Les as keynote speaker to the Ohio Association of Nonprofit Organizations annual conference, in the early 1990s. I explained that Les and his team had pioneered the measurement of the size and scope of the nonprofit sector in a number of states and metropolitan areas of the U.S. and that he was now ready to take on the world. The scope of his envisioned Comparative Nonprofit Sector Project, was mind-blowing, inviting both skepticism and awe in terms of the tools that would be needed to collect comparable data over a wide range of countries, the teams of researchers that would have to be assembled country by country, and the funds that would have to be raised to support all of these efforts. Lester earned the reputation of consummate academic entrepreneur by pulling all that off in superb fashion.

My personal interactions with Les were mostly in connection with his book projects. With him, I wrote the chapter in successive editions of The State of Nonprofit America on commercialization, social ventures and for-profit competition. Les was a demanding co-author and editor with a very high standard for excellence. Take a look at the contributors to that volume and you will find the field’s leading scholars. And I’m pretty sure that Les was just as demanding of every one of them as he was of me. In 2018, Les returned the favor to me, writing the Foreword to the Handbook of Research on Nonprofit Economics and Management which I co-edited with my colleague Bruce Seaman.  Someone else might have approached this assignment as an honorific exercise, but Les took it very seriously, critiquing the whole book and questioning the views that its leading economist contributors had articulated. It was a challenging yet refreshing interaction, reminiscent of various opportunities that we had to debate the finer points of nonprofit economic theory in conferences over the years.

Aside from the books, I never had the opportunity to work directly with Les, although we explored possibilities from time to time. But I’m so grateful to have developed a personal and professional relationship with him, and to have written the letter that led to his ARNOVA career achievement award in 2003.  He was so thoroughly deserving of that award back then, and his achievements and impact just continued to mount thereafter.

Lester was a paragon of excellence, vision and determination, who cared deeply about nonprofits as a field of study and as critical sector in our society. He also cared deeply about his colleagues and he was a leader among leaders. He will be intensely missed for his vision, his energy and his passion and determination.

Dennis R. Young
Emeritus Professor
Case Western Reserve University and Georgia State University

East-West Management Institute

EWMI is greatly saddened by the passing of our dear friend and colleague, Dr. Lester M. Salamon, on August 20, 2021.

A pioneer in the study of the nonprofit sector and philanthropy, Dr. Salamon played a vital role in EWMI’s efforts to strengthen civil society globally. In particular, due to his vision and leadership, EWMI supported the establishment of a consortium of Kyrgyz Universities that worked with the Johns Hopkins Center for Civil Society Studies to introduce a comprehensive non-profit management curriculum and form an Association of Nonprofit Management Educators and Resource centers throughout Kyrgyzstan.

Dr. Salamon was truly an innovative thinker dedicated to tackling some of society’s most entrenched challenges. As director of the Philanthropication thru Privatization (PtP) project, Dr. Salamon explored cases throughout the world where sizable pools of public capital had been tapped to build a permanent support base for civil society. Dr. Salamon’s dedication to the PtP concept never waned. In June 2021, Dr. Salamon co-authored “America’s Health Conversion Foundations: A PtP Success Story,” which examined how health conversion foundations are managing the resources placed under their control to improve the health of people in the regions they serve. Additionally, Dr. Salamon recently released a concept note with Michael Calabrese of the New America Foundation on how the PtP concept could be used to capture proceeds from U.S. broadband spectrum auctions to endow a Digital Future Foundation to address digital equity gaps. Dr. Salamon had also been advocating for using funds from opioid litigation cases to create an Addiction Prevention Foundation, as well as bundling Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac shares to endow a Foundation for Housing Innovation to underwrite pilot innovations in support of affordable housing.

EWMI will continue to be inspired by Dr. Salamon’s work and legacy, which we look forward to building on. Dr. Salamon’s passing is a great loss to all who have had the privilege of working with him, and we extend our deepest condolences to his family and friends, and to his colleagues at the Johns Hopkins Center for Civil Society Studies.

Rachel Tritt
Executive Vice President
East-West Management Institute

Kirsten A. Grønbjerg
Thank you for the opportunity to reflect on Les’ contributions to the field. I have already seen so many well-deserved tributes, emphasizing his many publications and substantive contributions to the field of nonprofit and philanthropic research. I won’t repeat those here, except to note that as the Chicago Field Associate for his first major project examining the impact of the Reagan budget cuts on the nonprofit sector, I had the opportunity to see the care with which he sought to develop solid research on the field. I had done previous work on the field—in fact it was because Les had seen an article I published on “Private Welfare in the Welfare State: Recent U.S. Patterns” (Social Service Review 56, March 1982) that he invited me to serve as the Chicago Field Associate. However, working with him on that project kick-started my own nonprofit research career, and I will forever be in his debt for making that connection. I know that the later comparative nonprofit sector project had a similar impact on researchers in the countries included in that project.

His work was truly pioneering, especially his insistence on using, finding, and/or if necessary, developing systematic data sources. I didn’t always agree with the definitions or parameters he used—or the underlying assumptions—but there is no doubt that he was instrumental in developing some truly important sources of data.

Most notable from my perspective was his work on getting the United Nations to include nonprofit economic activity in the System of National Accounts, the International Labor Organization to regularly measure volunteering, and his use of the Quarterly Census of Employment and Wage data to measure paid nonprofit employment. Indeed, we are using the basic methodology for the latter in our analysis of paid nonprofit employment in Indiana.

I also very much appreciate his systematic use of the IRS Business Master File, while recognizing how incomplete it was—and more recently his persistent efforts to get the IRS to include government contracts again on Form 990 (it was removed in the 2008 revision). I remember spending countless hours trying to keep my cats from rearranging the small address labels I had cut out from all types of directories of Chicago area nonprofits. I had placed them in alphabetical stacks on the floor to check against the BMF back in 1981 when I was the Chicago Field Associate for the Urban Institute project. The first personal computers were just going on the market at the time, so I had to do this manually. But I developed a sound respect for this type of careful data review and have sought to implement those principles ever since.

Kirsten A. Grønbjerg 
Director, Indiana Nonprofits Project
Distinguished Professor, O’Neill School of Public & Environmental Affairs
Indiana University Bloomington

Aaron Bornstein
I knew of Lester and his civil society work decades before I met him—as a few of my local staff on a civil society strengthening project I ran in Bulgaria in the mid 1990s were trained at JHU in his civil society development program.

Fast forward twenty years. I was introduced to Lester by a mutual colleague who worked in the philanthropic sector. Our mutual connection knew of Lester's PtP work, documenting the growth of foundations worldwide capitalized with non-traditional sources of funds, and my work, running the first foundation in the world capitalized with assets derived from state-sponsored corruption. I convinced Lester to add "corruption assets" to his list of resources that he knew about had been tapped to start other foundations (including bank privatizations in Italy, and the postal lottery proceeds in Belgium). We ended up writing two publications together, and my taking my last pre-covid international travel, to Nigeria in November 2019, under Lester's supervision, to promote the "PtP" model in that country.

I was always impressed with Lester's wide interests, and international work and partnerships.  We had some disagreements along the way, but these always worked out amicably. He was a great strategic thinker, with a good sense of humor. I join the legions that knew him and will miss him.

Aaron Bornstein  

Tim Delaney
The nonprofit community lost a visionary, a champion, and a dear friend last week with the passing of Lester Salamon. The public knows so much more about the charitable sector thanks to the dogged work of Lester, who refused to accept “we don’t have that data” as a valid answer. His career was dedicated to telling the nonprofit story through data, and the robust details we take for granted today are testimony to his tremendous success.

Tim Delaney
President & CEO
National Council of Nonprofits

Char Mollison
Lester's pioneering work remains central to our understanding of the nonprofit sector and its equivalents around the world. It was a privilege to teach graduate courses in the nonprofit studies program he created at Johns Hopkins University. His well-used books line my shelves, and students continue to benefit from their contents. Some of his colleagues from the Center for Civil Society Studies have become great friends. His legacy shines in our teaching, our research, our understanding, and our friendships.

Rest in peace, Lester, and thank you.

Char Mollison
Senior Fellow, Center for Nonprofits, Philanthropy and Social Enterprise
Schar School of Policy and Government
George Mason University, Fairfax, VA

Jonathan Greenblatt
The world lost a giant with the passing of the founder of the Johns Hopkins Center for Civil Society Studies, Dr. Lester Salamon. I first met Les while working at the at the White House and it was clear he was a path-breaking scholar of civil society. May his memory always be a blessing.

Jonathan Greenblatt
CEO and National Director
Anti-Defamation League (ADL)

Elizabeth Boris
Lester was an esteemed colleague for nearly 40 years, unfailingly considerate and civil, and an effective advocate for civil society. His vision and pioneering work helped to shape the field of nonprofit studies in the United States and around the world. One fond memory is an evening we shared in Vienna. I arrived after the Voluntas conference in Pecs, kicking myself that I had not made plans for my one night there. I ran into Les while checking in and he graciously invited me to join him and his colleague for dinner. We had an outdoor dinner to a background of Viennese waltzes and several twirls around the dance floor. As in everything else, he was an accomplished dancer. We will all miss him.

Elizabeth T. Boris, Ph.D. 
Institute Fellow 
Urban Institute 

Sawida Kamara
This is such a loss and I am so sorry to hear this. His work (all of your work) taught me the importance of data, and how integral it is to the telling of the story of the immense impact and possibilities of those serving in a sector. I know his legacy will continue, which I hope gives those of you closest to him, peace.

Sawida Kamara
Capacity Building Specialist
Fair Chance

Bernie Guyer
I am a retired/emeritus professor in the Bloomberg School and knew Lester and his work in the 1990s. I had become interested in the performance of state public health department’s maternal and child health programs and wanted to do some research on why some were excellent and others were poor performers. I consulted with Lester about that and read some of his writings. His work and contributions were very important.

Bernie Guyer 
Professor Emeritus
Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

Karen Beavor
I am so sad to lose such a wonderful scholar and champion of the nonprofit sector. He was a generous and kind man. He made a difference.

Karen Beavor, CEO
Georgia Center for Nonprofits

Nick Deychakiwsky
I first started working with Lester around 2006, and quickly gained a deep appreciation for his contributions to the field of civil society studies. He was in it not only as a tremendous scholar, but as someone who cared deeply about the betterment of society. Lester was a long-time partner for the Mott Foundation, and we had the privilege of supporting much of the work that he did for the advancement of civil society, the nonprofit sector, and philanthropy starting as far back as 1988.

I always enjoyed my interactions with Lester, even when we disagreed. He really knew how to make compelling arguments! Lester was very clear, articulate and understandable even when explaining complex things—so much so that I wish I'd had him as a professor when in college.

I also admired him for his equanimity, magnanimity, elegance, civility, and yes—passion. Except for one article of passion. Lester was a diehard Baltimore Ravens fan, which didn't go over too well with this diehard Cleveland Browns fan...... but the friendly banter about that still didn't get in the way of a really good, productive relationship. Maybe it was even the fact of both of us having ancestors that came from Ukraine—I always had a good warm feeling when interacting with Lester.

My sincerest condolences to his family.

Nick Deychakiwsky
Senior Program Officer
Charles Stewart Mott Foundation

Maryland Nonprofits
On behalf of the staff and board of Maryland Nonprofits, please accept our condolences for the passing of Dr. Lester Salamon. Dr. Salamon played a leading role in the founding of Maryland Nonprofits and was honored in 2017 with our Founder's Award. Since our founding in 1992, Maryland Nonprofits has been a ready resource for nonprofits across the state, including through the COVID-19 pandemic. Dr. Salamon was the keynote speaker at our Quality of Life Summit in 2016, drawing the attention of hundreds of leaders who shared his passion for creating a more just and equitable world through the work of nonprofits.

Dr. Salamon’s study, Beyond Charity, played a pivotal role in the nonprofit community in Maryland and in our organization. The study galvanized nonprofit leaders and the grantmaking community to become more united through the creation of an association devoted to the nonprofit sector’s effectiveness.

On a personal level, Lester was always kind, generous, humble and thoughtful.  I had the honor of serving on his Listening Post project prior to my tenure at Maryland Nonprofits. That was a national multi-year program to gather critical longitudinal data from a set group of nonprofits, with partners from around the country. This type of vision and stewardship was a hallmark of Lester’s way of working, and it was so easy to say “yes” to being involved in his efforts. We are actually in a current partnership with the JHU Center for Civil Society Studies and have also extended our condolences to Chelsea Newhouse who we know was so close to Lester and he played such an important role in her life and career as well.

Thank you so much for sharing this luminary scholar and amazing human being with the world.  We send you our heartfelt condolences.

Heather Iliff
President and CEO
Maryland Nonprofits

William Burkart
Lester Salamon was a great many things.

He was inspiring. From the UN, to the ILO, and the movers and shakers in the philanthropic and investment communities: his work shaped an entire field of study focused on the intersection of the public, private, and nonprofit sectors.

Les was demanding. He and I worked together on an edited volume called the “New Frontiers of Philanthropy”. I lost count of how many times I received phone calls and emails from panicked authors asking “Did Les hate my piece? Do I need to start over?” He didn't and they didn't have to, but he could see better than most how the ideas could be more effective and the prose more elegant.

Lastly, he was my mentor. Les expected a level of integrity and precision to the work he pursued, whether with a lowly grad student or an influential thought leader. While I am saddened by this loss, I am heartened by that fact that his tutelage and exacting standards will live on with so many of us. The closer we get to clearing his high bar the more we will give him a legacy he would be proud of.

William Burkart
Co-Founder, President, and COO
The Investment Integration Project
Former Project Manager, Johns Hopkins New Frontiers in Philanthropy Project

Johns Hopkins International Philanthropy Fellows

Bernard Enjolras, Senior Philanthropy Fellow, 1994, Norway
Lester has had a tremendous impact on the foundation and development Third Sector research worldwide, not least in Europe and in Scandinavia. His unique ability to set up and lead large scales collaborative projects has shaped the field of research and will continue to have lasting influence. Much more would need to be said on Lester’s scholarly production, entrepreneurial spirit, institutional building capacity and charismatic leadership. However, beyond his scholarly and institutional contribution to the field, Lester will be remembered for his humane qualities: a restless engagement and energy, a sense of purpose, friendship and loyalty, a deep intellectual curiosity and generosity.

From a more personal perspective, I owe Lester my interest for the field of Third Sector research: I would probably not have become involved in this field of research without the encounter with Lester and a stay at Johns Hopkins as a fellow in nonprofit studies. Recently, I had the opportunity to collaborate with Lester on the EU-funded Third Sector Impact project and to closely appreciate his scholarly and humane qualities. Through a period of almost thirty years, Lester has been for me an inspiring figure, a role model, as well as a person I could always rely on. Lester will be sorely missed.

Bernard Enjolras, PhD
Research Professor
Director, Center for Research on Civil Society and Voluntary Sector 
Institutt for samfunnsforskning [Institute for Social Research]
Oslo, Norway

Laura Berardi, Senior Philanthropy Fellow, 2011, Italy
It was a great honor to share my research with someone who represents the unique and undisputed reference for all nonprofit and third sector scholars. Lester Salamon has left us, but the knowledge he has spread with his global research on civil society will keep enlightening us forever.

I will never forget when I met him in Tallinn, for the first time, and I told him about my research project, then he accepted my proposal and invited me to Baltimore. For me, becoming a philanthropy fellow at the Johns Hopkins University Center for Civil Society Studies was like a dream that Lester made a reality. He discussed with me the volunteer work measurement project and the Italian nonprofit context. Lester revised my works and shared his best collaborators—Megan Haddock, Chelsea Newhouse, and the CCSS staff. He cooked for me in his beautiful house, invited me to the theater, allowed me to present the case of "La Scala" during the Lisbon Conference. He ate with us at the Fado museum, and it was unforgettable.

I could list here several memories, but they are small things compared to what this man did in his life. There is no published work - on the social economy,  the nonprofit,  the third sector, and civil society,  that does not mention his definitions, classifications, and data. He was decisive for my research and career. The subject is certainly not the most fashionable for my Academy right now. Sometimes this niche choice penalizes me, but how many great emotions and satisfaction it gave me!!! Thanks, Lester.

Laura Berardi
Associate Professor in Business Administration
President of the Bachelor Degree Program in Business Administration
Department of Economic Studies
d'Annunzio University of Chieti-Pescara

Brad Henderson, Senior Philanthropy Fellow, 2003, Canada
The opportunity to participate in the International Fellows in Philanthropy Program was a formative part of my career of +20 years working in civil society. Not only did it allow me to understand the sector but it connected me to so many inspiring people that influenced my work and informed my opinions. It shaped me and I attribute the program, the quality of the discourse and the humanity of everyone involved to a large part to Lester’s character and enthusiastic embracing of the diversity and strengths of civil society. He was a ‘sense maker’ of the highest order and I feel so fortunate to have experienced this wisdom via the Fellow program. Thank you Lester.

Brad Henderson
Senior Private Sector & Partnership Officer 
External Engagement Latin America

Russy Sumariwalla, Honorary Philanthropy Fellow, United States
In my humble view Les was irreplaceable. Our association goes back to the first days when Lester switched from Government to the Nonprofit and Philanthropy / Civil Society sector. I worked with him on practically every project til I finally retired and moved to Oregon in 2004. After that I lost personal contact with him although I always received an e-mail about a new publication from the Center. I believe only last week or so I received an e-mail about an update on employment in the nonprofit sector.

Lester was sans pareil. I don’t know of anyone who can come even close to him in his vision, his depth and breath of knowledge and his scope and global scale with all that he challenged himself with. I was most active with him during the years of the Comparative Nonprofit Sector Project which Anita and I attended all over the world. Although I was not a “Fellow” Lester saw it fit to formalize my status as “Honorary Fellow.” Our sector has lost a great scholar and a wonderful human being.

Russy D. Sumariwalla
Global Philanthropy and Nonprofits

Emmanuel Opati, Junior Philanthropy Fellow, 2005, Kenya
Like most people, the death of Lester was a shock to me. I met Lester in 2005 when I was a young man still trying to understand the Non-profit sector. I was a Junior Fellow at JHU’s Center for Civil Society Studies. Little did I know that Lester would change my life completely. During my fellowship I got to admire his intellectual ability to breakdown big abstract ideas into concrete projects that got funded. I learned to think big from Lester.

When I finished my fellowship, he gave me an opportunity to work with him on another big abstract idea, Philanthropication thru Privatization or PtP. It was during this time that I discovered my path into Healthcare. Lester opened up very many doors for me; doors to trying Maryland Crabs (which I now love), doors to travel the world, doors to Johns Hopkins, and doors to my professional career. When I got married, he and Lynda invited my wife and I for dinner and his present for us was a door knocker engraved ‘E’ and ‘E’ for Emmanuel and Edith—opening yet another door for us.

As I mentioned, when I met Lester, he changed my life. I am not the only one. He changed thousands of people across the world through his teaching, projects, and publications.

His death is a great loss to humanity and we would like to send our sincere condolences to Lynda, Noah, and Matt. Please know that you have a global network of people who are passionate about Lester’s work who will keep his work alive.

We will miss him dearly.

Emmanuel Opati
Assistant Administrative Director
Office of Telemedicine
Johns Hopkins Medicine

Elena A. Abrosimova, Senior Philanthropy Fellow, 1994, Russia
The death of Lester is a huge irreparable loss for everyone who knew him, for his family and friends, for his colleagues and for his fellows! All Fellows around the world are his children who mourn this loss.

For me personally, Lester discovered a huge and wonderful world of international philanthropy and made me an explorer. He taught me to clearly express my thoughts, thoughtfully and honestly approach the participation of the state and business in charitable activity, openness to everything that happens in this vast world. Lester made me friends with wonderful and intelligent people from different countries, who became one big friendly family. His name will forever remain in the memory of those who created and researched  the charitable movement in Russia.

Lester was a Man with a capital M with open kind heart and sharp mind.

All Fellows from Russia will miss his wise advice, sense of humor and tireless energy, which he charged those around him.

Prof. Elena A. Abrosimova, Doctor of Law (LL.D)
Head of the Commercial Law Department
Law School, Lomonosov Moscow State University

Dennis Augustine Muchunguzi, Senior Philanthropy Fellow, 1992, Tanzania
The passing of Dr. Lester Salamon is a big loss to his family, to the Johns Hopkins University, more to the Center for Civil Society Studies and to the entire global nonprofit sector. On my side with all fellows it is indeed a big loss! I first met Lester in Jerusalem, Israel on the 10th of July 1992. Since then Lester continued to be my mentor and colleague. I remember all the events I had with  Lester around in Baltimore, Washington, Israel 1992, Ghana 1993, Netherlands 1994, Italy 1997, Russia 1998, Australia  2000, Kenya 2004, China 2005, Romania 2006, and Spain 2008! I last met Lester in Barcelona in 2008! I have however continued to receive his publications!

May his memory be a blessing!

Dennis Augustine Muchunguzi 
Executive Director, AFREDA 

Tatsuaki Kobayashi, Senior Philanthropy Fellow, 2012-2013, Japan
I am so sorry to receive the news of Lester’s death. Please allow me to offer my sincerest condolences on his death. Lester and CCSS staff like you gave me a lot of support and encouragement during my stay in CCSS, which is still a driving force for my life.

I was deeply inspired and backed by his vision and knowledge of [the] global NPO and civil society. I am also grateful to his kind permission to translate his “Leverage for Good” into Japanese. Now his seeds have grown to blossoms here in Japan, too, as social impact investment and other innovative philanthropy. I have no words to express my gratitude to him.

Tatsuaki Kobayashi
Associate Professor, Gakushuin University
Senior Researcher, Japan NPO Center

Tymen van der Ploeg, Senior Philanthropy Fellow, 1989, The Netherlands
I have very good memories of Lester as the leader of the Johns Hopkins international philanthropy fellows, that I joined in 1989. He was really enthusiastic of the nonprofit sector and its meaning for society, government, and economy. By his enthusiasm I was stimulated to focus my legal research work more on the nonprofit sector.

I am thankful for his organizing the international conferences of fellows, all over the world. We—as fellows—may have thought that the fellows could have some more responsibilities in the organization, but maybe he was right to keep control. When we organized the conference in Amsterdam together with Lester, he let us enough room. It was pleasant to cooperate.

He had indeed written many books and articles on the third sector, but the most important point was his convincing interest in the third sector, not only in the US but in fact all over the world and his ability to make other researchers etc. enthusiastic about it.

May he rest in peace.

Tymen van der Ploeg
Uithoorn, The Netherlands

Wino van Veen, Senior Philanthropy Fellow, 1997, The Netherlands

Lester was an outstanding academic with an extraordinary pleasant and friendly personality. For me his passing stunned me completely. He was so full of energy and ideas. He was indeed a dear colleague and will be missed. I can imagine that that for you and others who have worked with him closely for such a long time it feels like you've lost a dear friend. My sincere condolences.

prof. Wino van Veen
Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
Senior Counsel, Corporate Structures
Baker & McKenzie Amsterdam N.V.

Ayla Goksel, Junior Philanthropy Fellow, 1999-2000, Turkey

I am deeply saddened to hear of the loss of Lester Salamon who was a trailblazer in nonprofit studies and a mentor to many of us in the field.

I was an International Fellow at the Center for Civil Society Studies in 1999-2000. He was my professor and mentor during my time at JHU and I was genuinely amazed by not only the amount he had accomplished but his relentless enthusiasm and thirst for knowledge. He was always curious and would listen intently to everyone.

It is perhaps though his human qualities that I remember most. How despite being so busy he always made time for each of us, showed genuine interest in our various subjects both professional and personal and most importantly remembered. Even after several years he would respond almost immediately to our emails and ask after our work and family with detailed questions. He would make us all feel special. Such a rare quality these days.

After my time at JHU Lester visited Turkey several times and was an important force in launching Turkey's third sector research.  We also met in several countries for the Fellows conferences including India, Brazil and Kenya which even today stand out for me as memorable trips as Lester mobilised us all to learn from each other and engage with local communities. I am so grateful for these experiences that were formative in my career.

I am fortunate to have been one of Lester's fellows and been touched by his special magic. I have since interacted with countless accomplished individuals in the field and beyond but none have ever had the personal impact that Lester had.

I extend my deepest condolences to his family, friends, colleagues and students. He will be sorely missed.

Ayla Goksel
CEO, Özyegin Social Investments
Trustee, Ozyegin University

Bob Ramdhanie, Senior Philanthropy Fellow, 1991, United Kingdom

Lester has not only touched, nurtured and supported us Fellows as individuals but his scholarship and contribution to societies globally have had significant live changing effects on the 3rd sector.

He will be greatly missed.

Dr. Bob Ramdhanie MBE
Creative Director:
Brams Arts Productions (Barbados)
Rupununi Music & Arts Festival (Guyana)

Dorota Ilczuk, Senior Philanthropy Fellow, 1996, Poland

Lester was charismatic researcher and scientific father for the Johns Hopkins University International Fellows in Philanthropy. We will all miss him. Please take my condolences.

Dorota Ilczuk
Professor of Economics and Cultural Management
Warsaw School of Social Sciences and Humanities

Maiya Tsyganenko, Senior Philanthropy Fellow, 2002, Russia

Lester is a huge figure… I am proud to be a fellow of his Philanthropy program. Still keeping his books. No words to express my deep sorrow… My deep gratitude for Lester’s incredible contribution into world’s civil society research and development.

Maiya Tsyganenko

Martin Knapp, Senior Philanthropy Fellow, 1989, United Kingdom

I was very sorry to hear about Lester: I have such strong, positive memories of my time in Baltimore (many decades ago…) and the research links that continued subsequently. Jeremy [Kendall] has very eloquently captured Lester’s characteristics and enormous contributions to the field of Third Sector studies, and I cannot do more than to simply say that I agree with those sentiments.

Martin Knapp
Professor of Health and Social Care Policy
London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE)

Marina Nikitina, Senior Philanthropy Fellow, 2000, Russia

This is an irreparable loss for all of us. Not every diplomat has been able to do as much as Lester for international friendship and cooperation of the international community. His students, fellows, and colleagues are a kind and friendly family of professionals working in the nonprofit sector of different countries. Meeting him has always been a happiness, the happiness of communicating with him and our colleagues.

Marina Nikitina
Director of Finance, ORT CIS
Moscow, Russia

Sam Obeng-Dokyi, Honorary Philanthropy Fellow, UK

I was privileged to be part of the huge platform Dr Salamon created for conversations towards solutions to societal issues worldwide. I remember the first time I attended the Fellows in Philanthropy Conference in Moscow with my good friend Dr Bob Ramdhanie. I had a lot going on in my mind, wondering if I would even get the chance to speak with Dr Salamon whose great intelligence and accomplishments I'd heard so much about, but  his affable personality made me feel at ease the very first time we met at the conference.

I will remember him for his calm strength of purpose and his deep understanding of how societies function. He made the world a better place just by being in it.

Rest In Peace Sir.

Sam Obeng-Dokyi
Honorary Fellow
London, England


Below are photos of Dr. Salamon's time at the Johns Hopkins University. Unless otherwise noted, these photos are from Center archives.

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[Last updated September 24, 2021]

To add your memories to this collection, please contact Chelsea Newhouse. Please be sure to include your affiliation so that we can properly credit you. We look forward to hearing from you.