WPI Doctoral Dissertation Fellows

Investing in Emerging Scholars

The goals of the Women’s Philanthropy Institute Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship are to increase research and understanding of gender and philanthropy; to contribute to build the field of study about gender and philanthropy; and to encourage emerging scholars. The fellowship supports a scholar whose primary research focus is in the area of women’s philanthropy or gender differences in philanthropic behavior and giving.

See the list of Dissertation Fellowship recipients below.

Chandra Harris-McCray

Higher Education Leadership & Administration
University of Tennessee, Knoxville
2018 Fellow

Harris-McCray’s dissertation, informed by research as well as a decade of personal and professional experience, has led her to the premise that Women of Color, in particular African American women, are often ignored and overlooked for their philanthropic potential. Her research demonstrates that diverse voices are missing from the perspectives of many organizations and agencies.

Harris-McCray is the executive director of development and alumni communications at the University of Tennessee Foundation. She was most recently selected as a participant in “Living Systems Leadership: Cultivating Women’s Leadership,” a weeklong intensive retreat in New Mexico.

Lauren Dula

Public and Nonprofit Management, Indiana University Bloomington
2017 Fellow

Dula’s dissertation explores how the gender composition of grant-making nonprofit boards of directors and executive leadership shape the organization’s performance. The U.S. nonprofit sector has a majority of female identifying employees, however board membership and executive leadership of nonprofit organizations still skews towards men. Social relationships are embedded in organizational operations both internally and externally. However, the impact of gender composition of boards has not been investigated in nonprofit organizations to the same degree as it has for for-profit institutions.

Amanda Koch

History, Indiana University, Bloomington
2016 Fellow

Koch’s research follows the history of the gospel rescue missions and the men and women who ran then from their start in the 1870s through 1980. Her dissertation explores how religious ideas about gender roles, such as the emphasis on women’s submission to men, have shaped women’s responsibilities in philanthropic institutions. Such historical, long-term studies are vital to showing how ordinary women shaped American philanthropy.

Elizabeth Dale

Philanthropic Studies, Indiana University
2015 Fellow

Dale’s dissertation investigates the philanthropic practices of same-sex couples, including their motivations for giving and how couples make philanthropic decisions as part of the household economy. As most existing research has focused almost exclusively on heterosexual couples, Dale’s research contributes new insights into how an under-researched population engages in philanthropy. 

Dale joined the faculty of the Nonprofit Leadership program at Seattle University in January 2016. 

Megan Springate

Anthropology, University of Maryland
2014 Fellow

Springate’s research focused on women’s holiday houses at the turn of the 20th century as an example of the intersection of race, class, and gender in the philanthropic setting. Using archeological, archival, and documentary sources, she examined power, the nature of reform, leisure, and labor in the context of Progressive era philanthropic reform. 

Springate is now a consultant to the National Park Service for the LGBTQ Heritage Initiative. 

Brent Pieper

Higher Education, Indiana University
2012 Fellow

Pieper’s dissertation, “Women in Philanthropy Programs at American Colleges and Universities: Giving Motivations from the Female Participants’ View,” explored the influence of formalized women’s philanthropy programs on women’s philanthropic motivations and giving behavior.                        

Pieper is Assistant Vice President for Advancement at Cleveland State University.

Laura Gee

Economics, University of California San Diego
2010 Fellow

Gee’s research involved a series of studies related to volunteering and giving. She examined these questions: How do constraints on work time affect volunteering for all women and men, not just mothers and fathers giving to their children’s schools? Do full-time employed women prefer to fundraise because of superior social networks? Do full-time employed women choose to fundraise because they don’t have the time to volunteer in other capacities, or because their skills are better suited to fundraising rather than volunteering in other ways? 

Gee is now an Assistant Professor of Economics at Tufts University.

Deborah Skolnick Einhorn

Near Eastern and Judaic Studies, Brandeis University
2009 Fellow

Einhorn’s dissertation, “Power of the Purse: Social Change in Jewish Women’s Philanthropy,” explores the diverse ways in which Jewish organizations have adapted to the shifting needs of change-minded women philanthropists. 

Einhorn is an Assistant Professor and Assistant Dean for Academic Development and Advising at Hebrew College in Newton, Massachusetts.