Inventing the Nonprofit Sector and Other Essays on Philanthropy, Voluntarism, and Nonprofit Organizations

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Johns Hopkins University Press, 1992 - Business & Economics - 349 pages
Philanthropy and voluntarism are among the most familiar and least understood of American institutions. The oldest American nonprofit corporation--Harvard College--dates from 1636, but most of the million or so nonprofits currently in existence were established after 1960. Although perceived as quintessentially American, these organized efforts to entrust public tasks to private agencies have, from colonial times, been the subject of fierce controversy. In "Inventing the Nonprofit Sector" and Other Essays on Philanthropy, Voluntarism, and Nonprofit Organizations cultural historian Peter Dobkin Hall describes and analyses the development of America's fastest growing institutional sector. Addressing the historical, religious, cultural, managerial and public-policy dimensions of philanthropy and voluntarism, Hall examines the public perception of nonprofits, their structure, and the consequences of that structure for management and public policy. He also considers "the difficulty of producing objective scholarship about an industry that is both the chief initiator of research and its major consumer." The continuing debate over philanthropy and voluntarism, Hall argues, expresses central tensions in democratic life. In our own time, these involve not only well-publicized controversies over public policy with regard to taxation, regulation, and social welfare but also less visible--but no less significant--struggles within private organizations as they seek to define and serve public needs.

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Reflections on the Nonprofit Sector in the Postliberal
Conflicting Managerial Cultures in Nonprofit Organizations

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About the author (1992)

Peter Dobkin Hall is Leonard Bacon Research Scholar in the Yale University Program on Non-Profit Organizations and teaches in the Divinity School at Yale University.

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