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Jenny Cohen
IU School of Public and Environmental Affairs

Adriene Davis
Center on Philanthropy

Last modified: Monday, December 12, 2005

Grønbjerg receives national lifetime achievement award for leadership in nonprofit research

Dec. 12, 2005

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Indiana University professor Kirsten Grønbjerg is the recipient of the 2005 Award for Distinguished Achievement and Leadership in Nonprofit and Voluntary Action Research from the Association for Research on Nonprofit Organizations and Voluntary Action.

Grønbjerg is a professor at the IU School of Public and Environmental Affairs and is Efroymson Chair in Philanthropy at the Center on Philanthropy at IU. She received the award at ARNOVA's annual conference held in Washington, D.C., Nov. 17-19.

"I am immensely honored and humbled by this award," Grønbjerg said. "I had no idea, when almost 15 years ago I chaired a committee charged with designing an awards program for ARNOVA, that I would one day stand here as the recipient of this award."

The award for distinguished lifetime achievement is given annually for significant and sustained contributions to the nonprofit and volunteer action research field through research and leadership. Nominees must have made significant achievements in the field of nonprofit and voluntary action research or significant leadership achievements in the advancement and promotion of such research over an extended period of time.

In presenting the award, Alan J. Abramson, director of the Nonprofit Sector and Philanthropy Program at the Aspen Institute, cited Grønbjerg's outstanding contributions in both research and leadership. He noted that her pioneering work to refine and perfect basic data about nonprofits has helped to deepen understanding about the basic size and scope of the nonprofit sector, demonstrated the limits of existing databases, and developed new approaches for overcoming these limitations.

Abramson also stated that as one of the first to map the complex flows of funding to nonprofits from many sources, Grønbjerg has made important contributions to theory development and refinement and documented the resulting pressures on nonprofit managers to relate to multiple funding sources, including government, private donors and paying clients. He also praised Grønbjerg's leadership in developing philanthropy as a field of study, such as her nurturing of young scholars, including many who are beginning to make their own marks in the field.

Grønbjerg, a professor of public and environmental affairs and philanthropic studies, is especially known for her work on public policy and social issues and their impact on the nonprofit sector. Her current research focuses on nonprofit organizations in Indiana, including developing an approach to identifying and documenting the state's nonprofit sector and its relationship to government and the private sector, which now serves as a model for other states. Grønbjerg's work has received national and regional media coverage.

The IU School of Public and Environmental Affairs, located on eight campuses, is committed to teaching, research and service in areas such as public and nonprofit management, public policy, environmental science, criminal justice, arts administration and health administration. The school maintains continuing relationships with a large number of public agencies at all levels of government; public and private hospitals and health organizations; and nonprofit organizations and corporations in the private sector. SPEA has earned national distinction for innovative educational programs that combine administrative, social, economic, financial and environmental disciplines.

The Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University is a leading academic center dedicated to increasing the understanding of philanthropy and improving its practice through research, teaching, public service and public affairs programs in philanthropy, fundraising, and management of nonprofit organizations. The Center and the Philanthropic Studies faculty conduct basic and applied research about contemporary and historical issues in philanthropy, nonprofit organizations, the nonprofit sector, giving, fundraising, voluntary action, and public policy issues linked to philanthropic activity. A part of the IU School of Liberal Arts at Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis, the Center operates programs on the IUPUI and IU Bloomington campuses.