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Board Fellowship Program

The Board Fellowship Program places qualified graduate students as Board Fellows on the governing boards of nonprofit organizations in Southeast Michigan.
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Nonprofit Partners

Domestic Corps

Domestic Corps provides Ross School of Business students high-level summer internships with nonprofits across the U.S.
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Nonprofit Partners

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The monthly newsletter lists events and other news of interest.
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Doctoral Research Support Grants

Grants will be made to support specific research project related expenses of doctoral students, such as acquisition of datasets, travel expenses to collect data, transcriptions of interviews, and other research related costs. The funds cannot be used to pay a research stipend to the student, however limited funding is available to attend conferences or to aid in the scholar's development of the research. This is a competitive process and only a limited number of grants can be funded each year. The maximum award amount is $4,000.

Grant Requirements:

Research Project Topic: The doctoral student’s project must be a topic related to the nonprofit sector or social impact, which is defined broadly to include any of following (this is not an exhaustive list):

  • History and theories of the nonprofit sector, voluntary action, and philanthropy
  • Nonprofit governance and leadership
  • Public policy issues
  • Fundraising and development
  • Nonprofit marketing
  • Social innovation
  • Social entrepreneurship and/or social enterprises
  • Impact investing and/or social funding
  • Hybrid organizations (B Corp, L3C, etc)
  • Corporate community involvement (with partner nonprofit organizations)
  • International comparative perspectives on above

Eligibility: Currently enrolled PhD student in good standing at the University of Michigan.

Selection Criteria: NPM will only support academic projects: either the student's dissertation or a project with a high likelihood of resulting in a publication in a relevant academic journal. Preference will be given to students who have achieved candidacy and are seeking support for dissertation research, but all should apply.

Supplemental Materials: Please ensure that you thoroughly review the required supplemental information listed on the application and attach the supporting documents as appropriate.

How to Apply:

Applications are due Fri, May 30, 2014, via email to Please review application details in the application prior to applying. The application package includes:

  • Application form.
  • A grant proposal not to exceed three pages plus references.
  • Current curriculum vitae.
  • Current unofficial transcript.
  • A one-page budget with justification for all significant expenses and projected timeline for completion of project and degree.
  • A statement of other funding sources available for this project, both funding already received and funding requests that are pending.
  • A letter of support for your research project from a faculty member advising on your project.
  • Statement of whether Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval is required.

The Nonprofit and Public Management Center is pleased to support the following doctoral students.

2013 Doctoral Research Support Grants

Alix Gould-Werth, School of Social Work and LSA
From Pink Slip to Unemployment Insurance: Legal Mobilization and the Struggle to Make Ends Meet
Unemployment Insurance is the major U.S. social program designed to provide income support to those who have lost their job. Quantitative research indicates that racial majority and highly-educated individuals who have lost their job are more likely both to apply for Unemployment Insurance and, conditional on application, receive benefits. The reasons for this disparity are unclear. Alix's study aims to produce preliminary explanations by conducting in-depth interviews with a diverse group of Metro-Detroit residents who lost jobs in the Great Recession's aftermath. The project also examines differences and similarities in the strategies those who have lost their job use to make ends meet and preserve their identities.

2012 Doctoral Research Support Grants

Carolyn Barnes, Political Science and Public Policy
The Political Implications of Welfare Privatization: Nonprofit Social Service Provision
Carolyn's proposed dissertation study examines the effects of nonprofit service providers on the political engagement of low income populations. Through ethnographic participant observation and in-depth qualitative interviews, Carolyn explores the contours of program design across four nonprofit social service providers in the city of Chicago in hopes of identifying elements of program design that may shape political beliefs and engagement among clients. Through unique nuances in program design, nonprofit social service providers may shape client beliefs regarding the complexity and responsiveness of public institutions and client's broader orientation to politics.

Sasha Brodsky, Ross School of Business
Bringing Your Heart to Work? The Role of Managers at Non-profit Hospitals
Managers are often portrayed as putting their personal imprint on every aspect of operations, from making strategic decisions to instilling a belief in their own vision among employees. For example, Sal Montelli, a CEO of a $3-million non-profit organization describes himself as a "specialist in turnaround situations," who has achieved "sustained revenue and profit growth at large and small companies." How much do managers affect the behavior of non-profit and government organizations? How do the results differ for for-profit firms? Does the impact of managers vary across different types of policies? How big are the observed differences across managers? Are there overarching patterns to managerial decision-making? What explains heterogeneity in management practices in similar economic environments? This project investigates whether and to what extent managers affect the performance of non-profit organizations.

Karen Reardon, Sociology
How Does the Garden Grow?
In a challenged economy characterized by widening disparity between haves and have nots, and with government-funded social services threatened by a shrinking tax base and soaring deficits, the nonprofit sector is becoming a larger and more significant actor in the U.S. economy. Its work preserves our history and culture, as well as addresses pressing social problems and inequality. Its values largely are consistent with, and expressive of our nation's traditional values and capitalistic economic aspirations. It functions both as a means for the preservation of, and redistribution of wealth. Its impressive ability to assemble resources and leverage the time contributions of volunteers is more important than ever. Notwithstanding, little existing research examines the origins of these important organizations. Karen, herself a nonprofit founder, employs qualitative research methods to study the process of emergence through interviews with founders to test theories about the role of social capital in nonprofit organizational formation.

Shelley Strickland, Higher Education
Internal or external: A qualitative exploration of the relationship between community college presidential backgrounds inside and outside of academia and management of the presidency
Shelley's dissertation investigates a possible shifting orientation of the community college presidency by exploring whether presidents with an external background function differently than those who approach the presidency from a traditional, "internal" pathway through interviews with community college presidents who have a previous background in development and a comparison group of presidents coming from academic affairs. Community colleges are non-profit organizations in every sense of the word and their mission is to serve the community; the study's implications should extend beyond community colleges and provide insight into how executives execute their increasingly important role in fundraising, how the development field has evolved, and how to strengthen its place in the academy.