Center Director:

Photo of Schar School Professor, Alan Abramson

Alan Abramson (Ph.D. Yale University) is a Professor of Government and Politics in the Schar School of Policy and Government at George Mason University and Founding Director of Mason’s Center on Nonprofits, Philanthropy, and Social Enterprise. In these positions, he teaches, conducts research, and works with leaders on a broad range of nonprofit and philanthropic issues. For more than a decade, Alan directed the Aspen Institute’s nonprofit and philanthropy program, overseeing the Nonprofit Sector Research Fund and other initiatives that helped to build the nonprofit research field in the U.S., strengthen nonprofit and foundation leaders, and deepen the understanding of policymakers about nonprofit activities. Before joining the Aspen Institute, Alan Abramson was on the research staff of the Urban Institute, where he worked on a variety of domestic public policy issues. Alan Abramson received his Ph.D. in political science from Yale University and his B.A. from Wesleyan University. He is the author and co-author of numerous books and articles, and his work has twice won awards from the American Political Science Association. Alan is an elected Fellow of the National Academy of Public Administration, and has also been named among the 50 most influential leaders in the U.S. nonprofit sector. In 2015-2016, Alan served as President of the Association for Research on Nonprofit Organizations and Voluntary Action (ARNOVA), the nation’s premier association of nonprofit researchers. In 2018-2019, while on study leave from George Mason University, Alan served as the first Visiting Scholar at Independent Sector, a leading national membership organization for the charitable sector. Knowledgeable about a broad range of nonprofit issues, Alan’s major, current interests are: nonprofit-government relations; foundation policy and practice; social enterprise and social entrepreneurship; and shared governance, the engagement of all three sectors – nonprofit, government, and business – in addressing social problems.

Core Schar School Faculty Affiliated with the Center:

Mirae Kim (Ph.D., Rutgers University) is an associate professor of Nonprofit Studies at the Schar School of Policy and Government. Before joining the Schar School, Kim was a faculty member of the Andrew Young School of Policy Studies at Georgia State University from 2017 to 2020, and before that she taught at the Harry S. Truman School of Public Affairs at the University of Missouri. Kim earned her PhD in 2014 from Rutgers School of Public Affairs and Administration and a master’s degree from Carnegie Mellon University. Before moving to the United States, Kim earned her bachelor’s degree in English literature from Seoul National University in South Korea and was an exchange student for over a year at Auckland University in New Zealand. Kim has also been leading the “Nonprofit Organization Research Panel” project. She created the NOR Panel project in order to provide valuable information for nonprofit practitioners while producing much needed data for researchers in the nonprofit community. During her doctoral studies at Rutgers, Kim served as a managing editor of the Civic Engagement Magazine that seeks to facilitate discourse about public service – and broaden interest in the field. Kim was also a member of the Penn Social Impact Doctoral Fellows Program. Currently, Kim serves as an associate editor on the editorial board of the Journal of Public and Nonprofit Affairs (JPNA). She also served the International Review of Public Administration (IRPA) as an associate editor.

Stefan Toepler (Ph.D., Free University of Berlin) is a professor of Nonprofit Studies and the Schar School’s MPA Director. He regularly teaches the Introduction to Nonprofit Management, Nonprofit Law, and NGO Management and Policy. Prior to joining George Mason in 2002, he was deeply involved with cross-national research on nonprofits and global civil society at Johns Hopkins University, and more recently he was affiliated with the the Higher School of Economics in Moscow, conducting research on nonprofit-government relations in the Russian Federation and its regions. Dr. Toepler’s research interests range from the study of philanthropic foundations and nonprofit management and policy more generally to the roles of NGOs in international development as well arts policy and cultural economics. With over 100 publications, his most recent articles have appeared in the Journal of Comparative Policy Analysis, Nonprofit Policy Forum, Economics, American Behavioral Scientist, International Journal of Public Administration, International Journal of Cultural Policy, and Development in Practice.

Center Affiliates:

Peter J. Donaldson (Ph.D. Brown University) is a Senior Fellow, Center on Nonprofits, Philanthropy, and Social Enterprise. Peter Donaldson is president emeritus of the Population Council, which he joined after serving as president of the Population Reference Bureau. Earlier in his career, Donaldson was director of the Population Council’s program in Asia, director of the Committee on Population at The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, and a senior staff member at Family Health International (now FHI360). Donaldson is a former member of the board of directors of the Population Association of America and past president of the Association of Population Centers. He currently serves as a Humentum board member. Donaldson has authored or co-authored numerous scientific articles and popular essays. He is particularly interested in funding for nonprofit organizations and global health.

Robin Mockenhaupt (Ph.D., University of Maryland) is a Senior Fellow, Center on Nonprofits, Philanthropy, and Social Enterprise. A national philanthropic and nonprofit leader in population health, Mockenhaupt is currently an independent consultant in philanthropy and nonprofit management. Robin worked in several roles for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation from 1999 – 2020, where she provided direction for organizational management and planning, health policy, strategic relationships, program management, and support for the Foundation’s Board of Trustees. She also worked in nonprofit organizations in aging, maternal and child health, and community health. She is a licensed consultant through the Standards for Excellence Institute, which provides an ethics and accountability code for nonprofits. She is a member of the Advisory Board for George Mason University’s College of Health and Human Services, and is the former Chair of the Board of Grantmakers in Health.

Char Mollison  (M.A., Graduate Center of the City University of New York)  is a Senior Fellow, Center on Nonprofits, Philanthropy, and Social Enterprise. Known for her beauty, wit and pasta Bolognese, Char Mollison began her nonprofit career in the underground press movement of the 1960’s, covering issues ignored by the mainstream media. She then spent over a decade working for women’s rights, building the staff, volunteers, and coalitions to win new laws for women in education (including athletics) and employment (including the military). When nonprofit advocacy rights were threatened in the 1980’s, she joined the staff of Independent Sector, the major coalition of nonprofits and philanthropies in the U.S. From there she moved to the Council on Foundations, where she oversaw constituency services. She has advised government officials and nonprofit leaders in the U.S. and abroad, including Eastern and Central Europe, Latin America, Asia, and Africa. She is a Fellow of the Salzburg Global Seminar on the subject of nongovernmental organizations and civil society. Since 1997 she has taught graduate courses in nonprofit management, philanthropy, executive leadership, ethics, governance, and international NGO management and policy at George Mason University and elsewhere.

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