Peter J. Frumkin, Ph.D.

(Former) Director and Professor of Public Affairs

Peter Frumkin has accepted an appointment as professor of social policy at the University of Pennsylvania. View a farewell note from Dr. Frumkin here.

Peter Frumkin is Professor of Public Affairs and Director of the RGK Center for Philanthropy and Community Service in the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs at The University of Texas at Austin. His research and teaching focus on nonprofit management, philanthropy, social entrepreneurship, national service, and program evaluation.

Dr. Frumkin publishes articles on all aspects of philanthropy, including the formulation of grantmaking strategy, the changing profile of major individual donors, theories of philanthropic leverage, the professionalization movement within foundations, and other topics. He lectures on philanthropy at grantmaker meetings across the country and serves as a consultant to foundations and individual donors on strategy and evaluation.

Dr. Frumkin is the author of Strategic Giving: The Art and Science of Philanthropy (University Of Chicago Press, 2006) and On Being Nonprofit (Harvard University Press, 2002). He is the co-editor of In Search of the Nonprofit Sector (Transaction, 2004), which examines the blurring boundaries between government, business and nonprofit sectors. In his new book, Serving Country and Community, Dr. Frumkin and JoAnn Jastrzab examine the effectiveness of national service programs and offer ideas for improving the performance of AmeriCorps and VISTA.

Currently, Dr. Frumkin is currently working on a study of the recent building boom in the cultural sector in collaboration with the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago. The project is funded by the Mellon, MacArthur, and Kresge foundations and seeks to examine how key decisions are made during the planning and execution of new constructions of museums, theaters, and performing arts centers as well as what factors influence the projects' degree of success.

Prior to coming to the LBJ School, Dr. Frumkin was an associate professor of public policy at Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government, where he was affiliated with the Hauser Center for Nonprofit Organizations. He worked as a foundation program officer, a nonprofit manager, and as a program evaluator in both nonprofit and public agencies. Dr. Frumkin received his Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of Chicago.

Frumkin Publications

Nonprofit Management

"The Strategic Management of Charter Schools: Frameworks and Tools for Educational Entrepreneurs." by Peter Frumkin, Bruno V. Manno, Nell Edgington and Frederick M. Hess. Harvard Educational Press, Sep 30, 2011.

"Building Volunteer Capacity: The Drivers of Successful Corporate and Service Partnerships at City Year." In Gifts of Time and Money in America's Communities, ed. by Arthur C. Brooks, Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield, pp. 33-58, 2005 (with Lazar Treschan).

"Managing Mission and Margin: Nonprofit Competitive Strategy in Donation and Fee-Based Markets." Administration and Society 35 (5) 2003:564-596 (with Carol Chetkovich).

"The Strategic Management of Charter Schools." (Annie E. Casey Foundation 2003).

"Why Programs Get Replicated." Nonprofit Quarterly Fall 2004: 46-59 (with David Reingold).


The Essence of Strategic Giving, University of Chicago Press 2010

"Wielding Philanthropic Power Responsibly: The Problem of Legitimacy" In Giving Well, Doing Good, ed. by Amy A. Kass, Indianapolis: Indiana University Press, pp. 321-324, 2007.

"The Strategy of Philanthropy." In Chronicle of Philanthropy (opinion section), Sept. 28, 2006:69-71

Strategic Giving: The Art and Science of Philanthropy. University of Chicago Press, Sept. 2006.

"Strategic Giving and Public School Reform: Three Challenges." In With the Best of Intentions, ed. by Frederick M. Hess, Cambridge, MA: Harvard Education Press, pp. 275-294, 2005.

"American Foundation and Overseas Funding: New Challenges in an Era of Globalization." In Globalization, Philanthropy and Civil Society, ed. by Soma Hewa and Darwin H. Stapleton, New York: Springer, pp. 99-116, 2005.

"Sooner or Later? The Foundation Payout Puzzle." In Beyond Good Intentions, ed. by William Damon and Susan Verducci, Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press (with Akash Deep, forthcoming).

"Charity and Philanthropy after September 11th." In In Search of the Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector, ed. by Peter Frumkin and Jonathan B. Imber, New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction, 2004.

"Inside Venture Philanthropy." In In Search of the Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector, ed. by Peter Frumkin and Jonathan B. Imber, New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction, 2004.

Nonprofits, Public Policy, and Inter-sector Relations

Serving Country and Community, Harvard University Press 2010, Co-author with JoAnn Jastrzab

On Being Nonprofit: A Conceptual and Policy Primer. Harvard University Press, 2002. Winner of the Best Book Award from the Academy of Management Public and Nonprofit Division.

"National Service in Theory and Practice." In In Search of the Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector, ed. by Peter Frumkin and Jonathan B. Imber, New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction, 2004.

"Reengineering Nonprofit Financial Accountability." Public Administration Review 63 (1) 2003: 3-15 (with Elizabeth Keating). Winner of the Marshall E. Dimock Award from the American Society of Public Administration for Best Article in PAR during the volume year.

"Managing the Ecology of Nonprofit and For-Profit Human Service Providers." In Market Based Governance, ed. by John D. Donahue and Joseph S. Nye, Washington, D.C.: Brookings, 2002.

In the News

The Nonprofit Quarterly - 12/16/2011 May the Nonprofit Force Be With You!

The Star Wars Museum in Petaluma Goes Nonprofit. Read more >

Ottawa Citizen - 10/22/2011 The Divided Way

As the United Way looks to transform itself from a simple fundraiser into an 'agent of change,' some social service agencies say it is leaving them behind. Read the article >

The Wall Street Journal - 09/14/2011 Cultural Construction Slowdown

The cultural construction boom in North America has slowed. Is this merely a lull in a continuing trend? Or are we seeing the last gasp of major performing-arts-center construction for a while? Many of the cities that wanted better halls have completed them. And reports of economic distress among these new venues—which prompted the University of Chicago to study cultural infrastructure in the U.S.—have caused other communities to think twice before jumping on the bandwagon. Read the article >

The Daily Texan - 07/18/2011 Personal connections impact philanthropy

Personal connections with a charity are important to people who offer philanthropy, new research from UT and other universities confirms.

Texas Enterprise - 06/27/2011 A Different Kind of Drug Dealer

Frustrated by years of insurance-industry restrictions at retail pharmacies, Chris Johnson struck out on his own. He rebuilt his career around making time for both his family and his customers, building MedSavers pharmacy into a sustainable source for the uninsured to access affordable medication.

The Daily Texan - 06/23/2011 Charitable giving rebounds in 2010

After two years of decline, charitable giving rose in 2010.

Net Impact Austin - 01/31/2011 Social Entrepreneurship Roundtable Inspires an Obsession

On Thursday, a Social Entrepreneurship Influencer Roundtable was held at The Carillion Restaurant at University of Texas. This invite-only gathering was sponsored by Dell, University of Texas’ RGK Center for Philanthropy and Public Service, and Echoing Green.

Austin American-Statesman - 12/12/2010 Texas nonprofits an economic force, study says

Charity employees in Texas earned $16.8 billion in 2008.

The Only Thing Unchanged is Change - 11/29/2010 Challenges and Opportunities Facing Nonprofit Organizations

This post looks at three books on the nonprofit sector, including On Being Nonprofit: A Conceptual and Policy Primer, by Peter Frumkin.

Advisor One - 11/09/2010 The IRS and Foundations' Missions

The article discusses Peter Frumkin's recent white paper, “Move Over, 5%, and Let Mission Drive."


12/01/2011 - Albany, New Zealand

Presentation – “Measuring Social Enterprise Performance: Toward a Universal Dashboard” at the inaugural international Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship Conference at the Albany Campus of Massey University, New Zealand.

11/17/2011 - Toronto, Canada

Presentation at 2011 ARNOVA Conference: “Critical Reflections on ‘Mapping’ Civil Society and Nonprofit Organizations.”

11/07/2011 - Beersheba, Israel

Presentation at Endowment and Asset Management Conference sponsored by Israeli Center for Third-Sector Research (ICTR), Ben Gurion University of the Negev - Beersheba, Israel campus.

10/18/2011 - Houston, Texas

Presentation at Greater Houston Community Foundation’s workshop for area advisors and donors.

10/13/2011 - Louisville, Kentucky

Featured presentation with co-presenter, Joanna Woronkowicz, Ph.D. – “So You Think You Can Build? Inside the Cultural Construction Process” at the 37th Annual Social Theory, Politics and the Arts (STPA) conference at the University of Kentucky.

10/12/2011 - Omaha, Nebraska

Presentation to regional foundation advisors at the Nonprofit Summit of the Midlands, sponsored by Smith Hayes.

02/25/2011 - Durham, North Carolina

Universities Driving Global Change” - TEDxAshokaU is providing a platform to share some of the best practices used within the University roam and talk about how Universities are becoming part of a global movement to achieve positive social change.

12/08/2010 - Dallas, Texas

Conference of Southwest Foundations presents Move Over 5%, and Let Mission Drive with Peter Frumkin and Christopher G. Didier.

More infomation and registration.

11/14/2010 - Harvard University, Cambridge, MA

Panel session, Achieving Strategic Alignment, at the Charter School Leadership Development Program.

11/11/2010 - Erasmus University in Rotterdam

Keynote speaker at the Conference on Strategic Philanthropy - "What is Strategic Giving?"

10/30/2010 - Los Angeles, California

Presenting "Spectrum Filters: Towards a Normative Theory of Sector Selection" with Suzi Sosa at the UCLA Center for Civil Society's Exploring Social Enterprises Conference.

10/27/2010 - Broomfield, Colorado

Keynote Speaker at the National Scholarship Providers Association 2010 Annual Conference. "What is Strategic Giving: Implications for Scholarship Providers"

09/30/2010 - Vail, Colorado

Spoke with Carroll Joynes at the 62nd Annual Conference of Southwest Foundations.

09/29/2010 - Omaha, Nebraska

Session Leader at the Smith-Hayes Nonprofit Symposium.

08/14/2010 - Colorado Springs, Colorado

Spoke at the Liberty Fund Conference.