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Rich Clerkin to Lead Institute for Nonprofits

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Richard M. Clerkin, Ph.D., has been named executive director of the Institute for Nonprofit Research, Education and Engagement at NC State University. He will lead the institute’s research, teaching and engagement, and work with North Carolina nonprofit partners to extend NC State research to serve the state.

Clerkin has served as interim director over the past year and has been involved with the institute since joining NC State’s Department of Public Administration in 2005. He is associate professor of public administration in the college’s School of Public and International Affairs.  Clerkin conducts scholarship in the area of nonprofit studies and has been heavily involved with the institute’s Community of Nonprofit Scholars.

“Rich Clerkin has earned a strong reputation for his scholarship and for his administrative leadership,” says Jeff Braden, dean of NC State’s College of Humanities and Social Sciences. “His experience and scholarship position him to lead the intellectual direction of the institute as it continues to develop its leadership on and off campus. We are delighted Rich is taking the helm.”

Clerkin earned his doctorate at Indiana University-Bloomington, where he was a Chancellor’s Fellow. While at Indiana, he was associated with the Center on Philanthropy (now the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy), a leading academic center for research on the nonprofit sector and philanthropy. “It was while I was examining the scope and dimensions of Indiana’s nonprofit sector that I learned the important role that centers such as ours can play in informing nonprofit theory and practice in a community, across a state, and internationally,” he says. “I look forward to building on the foundations laid by previous Institute for Nonprofit directors Barbara Metelsky and Mary Tschirhart to enhance the capacity and leadership of nonprofit organizations that play such a vital role in addressing society’s grand challenges.”

Clerkin’s award-winning research and teaching interests focus broadly on the nonprofit sector. In particular, he studies motivations for public service and public benefiting activities. Through the Changing Philanthropy Project, he is exploring the impact of geographic mobility and regional philanthropic traditions on individuals’ behavior related to volunteering and donating, as well as how nonprofits can adapt to these changes.


Clerkin is a coauthor of the leading public administration textbook, Public Administration:Understanding Management, Politics, and Law in the Public Sector. His research has been published in such leading journals as Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, Nonprofit Management and Leadership, Public Administration Review, American Review of Public Administration, and VOLUNTAS: International Journal of Voluntary and Nonprofit Organizations.

The Institute for Nonprofits builds the capacity of nonprofit organizations to serve the public through teaching, engagement and the generation and application of new knowledge. Housed within NC State’s College of Humanities and Social Sciences, the institute supports faculty conducting research about critical issues facing nonprofits; students from a range of disciplines taking courses related to nonprofit organizations; and leaders from nonprofit organizations engaged in increasing the capacity of North Carolina’s nonprofit sector. NC State established the Institute for Nonprofits in 2003 through a $1 million grant from the A.J. Fletcher Foundation.

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