Meet Erik Petrovski, Fall 2015 International Philanthropy Fellow

The Johns Hopkins International Fellows in Philanthropy Program is a highly-selective program that welcomes one or two researchers from outside the U.S. to spend one or more semesters at our Center to conduct independent research on an aspect of the U.S. nonprofit, philanthropic, and voluntary sector. Since its inception in 1988, this program has included over 150 Fellows from more than 50 countries. We are pleased to introduce you to the newest member of our Fellows family, Erik Petrovski. Mr. Petrovski is a sociologist and Ph.D. Fellow at Roskilde University, Denmark. His research focus is on volunteering, charitable giving, and the economy of the nonprofit sector. At Johns Hopkins, Erik worked on a comparative analysis of national accounts data on the nonprofit sector.
Can you tell us a little bit about your background and research interests?
Erik Petrovski (EP): I’m a sociologist by education and doing a Ph.D. at Roskilde University. My Ph.D. research is focused on understanding what affects the willingness to donate time and money to the nonprofit sector. My general approach to this question is methodologically based on econometric analysis and both sociological and microeconomic theory.
Why did you choose the JHU Philanthropy Fellows Program?
EP: I am currently working on the 2013 national accounts study of the Danish nonprofit sector. One aim of this project is to make it directly comparable with data from other countries in the Comparative Nonprofit Sector (CNP) database. I wanted to visit the Center for Civil Society Studies to become familiar with the CNP and do comparative analysis of the Danish nonprofit sector..
Can you describe the research you undertook during your Fellowship?
EP: I was doing work on a country report on the Danish nonprofit sector with specific focus on a comparative perspective. During my stay I was mostly working on the historical aspects of the report. However, when the report is done, it will contain detailed information on the size and distribution of the Danish nonprofit sector— including its share of paid and unpaid labor—in comparison with other countries.
Do you plan to continue the research when you return to Denmark?
EP: Yes, my work with the Center has really just begun. During the spring, I hope to share the final version of the Danish satellite account data with [Center Senior Research Associate] Dr. Sokolowski. After this I hope to be able to finish my country report with the newest comparable data from around the world.
What is the most valuable thing you learned during your Fellowship?
EP: Probably to be very aware of the way that nonprofits are often overlooked by statistics agencies: Since they depend on private contributions or public funding they are often put into the private or public sector. I think this is a powerful argument for why we need a separate NPI satellite account.

Fall 2015 International Fellow in Philanthropy Erik Petrovski stands on Federal Hill overlooking downtown Baltimore.

What was your favorite part about your time as a Philanthropy Fellow?
EP: The experience of living in Baltimore. I had a lot of fun meeting Baltimoreans from various meet-up groups, especially in Mount Vernon. Baltimore has some really beautiful and charming neighborhoods like Mount Vernon, Federal Hill, and Fells Point, which I enjoyed exploring. Also, Baltimore is also located near some really great places for weekend or day-trips: I spent a few days exploring the Smithsonian Museums in DC and would rent a car and go to places like Philadelphia, Rehoboth Beach, and Lancaster, PA.
Is there anything that you wish you had been able to do during your time at Hopkins that you were unable to do?
EP: I would have liked to be able to finish the entire country report during my stay at JHU but the data from Statistics Denmark simply wasn’t ready yet. I did receive some great feedback on the work that I was able to do during my stay and it would have been great to finish this work in close cooperation with researchers at the Center. But thankfully, I will be able to do this during the Spring.
What’s next for you?
EP: Finishing my Ph.D.! I’m on my last year and hope to be done by November. Before then, I will be reporting on the Danish national account for a Danish audience in a report coming in the fall. The report will be coauthored with my supervisor professor Thomas P. Boje and fellow Ph.D. student, Jonathan Hermansen.
Click here to download the slides from Erik's Philanthropy Fellows Seminar, presented on 9 December 2015.
Click here to download the slides from Erik’s Philanthropy Fellows Seminar.


Chelsea Newhouse

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Chelsea Newhouse served as the Center's Communications Manager and managed the Nonprofit Economic Data and Philanthropication thru Privatization Projects. Prior to joining the Center in 2008, she worked for the Johns Hopkins University Department of Molecular Biology & Genetics, the Baltimore Sun, and as a community organizer for Clean Water Action and the Democratic National Committee. She holds a degree in Philosophy from the University of Virginia. Following the Center's closing, Chelsea now serves as Project Manager at the East-West Management Institute, where she continues to work on the Philanthropication thru Privatization Project and other civil society development initiatives around the world. Chelsea can be reached at