In Memoriam: Dr. S. Wojciech Sokolowski

Dear Friends and Colleagues,   It is with great sadness that I write to announce the passing on Saturday, May 3, of our dear friend and colleague, Wojciech Sokolowski.   As you may be aware, Wojciech had been suffering for the past 10 years or more from a rare disease called Inclusion Body Myositis that progressively eats away at the body’s muscular structure. This has significantly limited Wojciech’s mobility in the past and reduced him to getting around on a motorized wheelchair in recent years.   Over the past months, however, this condition worsened significantly, landing him in the hospital several months ago when he lost the ability to swallow whole food, and in recent weeks, had largely confined him to bed. Death came silently to him in his sleep, for which we can all be thankful.   Wojciech joined our Center in 1992 and has been a stalwart and brilliant collaborator with me across a broad front of activities for nearly 30 years, from the early days of the Johns Hopkins Comparative Nonprofit Sector Project, through our work with the United Nations and International Labor Organization to put the third sector on the economic map of the world,...

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In Memoriam: Dr. Helen Stone Tice

Dear Friends and Colleagues,   I regret to inform you that Dr. Helen Stone Tice, a long-time colleague of our Center and a former senior analyst at the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA), passed away this past Thursday, March 8, from complications arising from a heart attack.   For those of you who knew her, you will recall Helen as a sweet and gentle person with a powerful intellect and a superb, if occasionally biting, wit. Helen pioneered the analysis of the nonprofit sector during her years at the BEA, pushing hard to establish this sector as a legitimate arena for explicit statistical focus within the official national accounts statistical system operated in the U.S. by BEA.   We were therefore extremely lucky to have attracted Helen to our Center as we turned our attention from building a research project to measure the nonprofit sector empirically at the international level to institutionalizing this capability in the System of National Accounts (SNA), the overall, official guidance system for international economic statistics overseen by the UN Statistics Division and four other major international financial agencies, such as the World Bank, the IMF, the OECD, and Eurostat.   Helen patiently—and sometimes...

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Fruition and the Future: The Center in 2017

Dear Friends and Colleagues:   2017 may well go down as one of the most productive and significant years in the history of our Center. Indeed, as we reflect on our work over this past eventful year, two words come to mind—fruition and the future.   Fruitions First and foremost, 2017 has seen many of our Center’s long-running projects come to fruition. In fact, each of our major projects bore important fruit this year, including: Our new website, Nonprofit Works: An Interactive Database on the U.S. Nonprofit Economy, which we launched this year. Through this site’s easy-to-use data selection wizard, nonprofit leaders, state nonprofit associations, government agencies, and researchers can access the latest official data on nonprofit employment and wages by field for the first time and can also place those data into context by comparing nonprofits to their counterparts in other sectors and to major problem areas. Our 25-year Comparative Nonprofit Sector Project, which culminated in the publication by the Johns Hopkins University Press of its capstone book, Explaining Civil Society Development: A Social Origins Approach. Building on the unique cross-national body of data on the size, scope, financing, and role of the nonprofit sector in the more...

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Four Shades of Resilience: The Center for Civil Society Studies in 2015

Perhaps no quality captures more effectively the distinctive character of nonprofit institutions and related voluntary citizen behavior that is the focus of our Center’s attention than the quality of resilience—the ability to withstand significant shifts in fortunes and challenges and find ways to persist in the pursuit of their missions.   This past year has certainly demonstrated this quality of the nonprofit and citizen sector over and over, from the sector’s role in responding to the refugee crisis triggered by the violence in Syria and Afghanistan, and the popular movements displaying solidarity in the face of terrorist attacks in places like Paris, California, and Beirut, or standing up for black lives in America’s inner cities; to the day-to-day struggles to improve the lives and prospects for people the world over.   For our part, we have attempted this past year, as in years past, to reflect this special quality of the sector we study in our own work, first by calling attention to it, and second by modeling it ourselves. This attempt is apparent in four facets of our work in particular over the past year.   #1: RESILIENCE AND ITS RISKS Most obviously, resilience is once again the...

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Statement from Lester Salamon on the recent events in Baltimore

A number of you have been kind enough to express concern about the health and safety of all of us at the Johns Hopkins Center for Civil Society Studies following the reports of violence and looting in Baltimore earlier this week. Please know that we are all thankfully safe and unharmed and were never in any danger. Mostly, we are a bit saddened by the unfortunate stain that this incident has put on this city and deeply ashamed and angry at the harsh policing, mandatory sentencing, and budget-cutting policies of our government that have contributed to the legitimate frustrations of so many of our African-American fellow citizens. The events of Monday, furthermore, have been grossly misinterpreted in many of the accounts I have seen. In my opinion, the Baltimore Police totally over-reacted to some social media postings by students at one of the city’s large high schools on the day of the funeral for Freddie Gray, the young man who died after being taken into police custody for no apparent crime a week before. The social media postings invited students from other Baltimore schools to meet at one of the well-known malls near this high school for a march...

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Philanthropication thru Privatization: A way to build charitable assets?

I had the good fortune to be called out by name recently by celebrated Economist Magazine columnist Matthew Bishop for having put together his “dream conference” combining his “two favorite themes: privatization and philanthrocapitalism.”   The occasion for this comment was a conference hosted by the Volkswagen Foundation in Hanover, Germany on 13 September to review the results of an unlikely project I have carried out in cooperation with a superb team of colleagues. The aim is to explore the potential for capturing in charitable endowments at least some of the proceeds of the sales of state-owned enterprises or common-use resources now under way around the world — a phenomenon I have been calling “Philanthropication thru Privatization,” or “PtP” for short.     ABOUT THE CONFERENCE We have so far identified over 500 foundations that have emerged from such privatization transactions around the world, and the Hanover Conference was convened to review a report on how this came about, what it has achieved, and what the prospects are for using this approach to build charitable endowments in other areas, particularly in the global South. A wide representation of foundation, civil society, government, and business leaders from Western Europe, Central...

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The Center’s 12 gifts of 2012

It has been another busy and productive year for the Johns Hopkins Center for Civil Society Studies. We have expanded the base of knowledge about nonprofit organizations in the U.S. and around the world; gathered our Philanthropy Fellows family for our 21st Conference, this time in lovely Portugal; ventured farther than we have ever done into the world of philanthropy, but philanthropy quite broadly conceived; and, uncharacteristically for us given our reputation for charting the economic scale of the civil society sector, launched a major effort to identify, and renew the sector’s commitment to, its distinctive values. In truth, of course, value concerns have never been far from the work that we do, or from the connections we have forged with the numerous colleagues and partners we rely on. This is an opportunity, therefore, to let our colleagues, our support system at the Johns Hopkins Institute for Policy Studies, the many funders of our work, and our wide-ranging collaborators on book projects and studies know how much we value their contributions to what we do. Listed below is a description of some of the twelve major gifts that they have helped us to deliver in 2012.     A...

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