Ashley Enrici appointed inaugural McKinney Family Fellow of Environmental Resilience and Philanthropy
A new faculty position dedicated to examining issues at the intersection of the environment and philanthropy is expanding the expertise of the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy at IUPUI.
Ashley Enrici, Ph.D., will serve as the inaugural McKinney Family Fellow of Environmental Resilience and Philanthropy and assistant professor of philanthropic studies at the school.
In the new position, Enrici will conduct research, teach, and convene scholars and practitioners on topics related to philanthropy and the environment, increase understanding and awareness of philanthropy’s role in addressing environmental issues, and advance the work of environmental resilience and adaptation.
Enrici’s role is one of several new faculty positions supported as part of Indiana University's Grand Challenges, Prepared for Environmental Change. Enrici also will have opportunities to collaborate with local, national and international environmentally focused philanthropic organizations and with faculty and staff across the university through the Indiana University Environmental Resilience Institute.
“We are thrilled to welcome Professor Enrici in this pioneering role at the intersection of philanthropy and the environment. The state of our environment is one of the key challenges facing humanity and we need to know much more about the roles philanthropy has played, and the roles it could play, in helping to address environmental challenges,” said Amir Pasic, Ph.D., the Eugene R. Tempel Dean of the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy. “Professor Enrici’s training and her work to date position her extremely well to lead our deliberations on philanthropy and the environment. I am especially pleased that our students are so eager to welcome her and her expertise.”
“Philanthropic foundations are significant actors in conservation efforts around the world, yet there has been little research to help us understand how they interact with the geographies and ecosystems that they fund. There exists a great opportunity to develop the field of environmental philanthropy – to conduct research in this area, to contribute to the way that foundations and conservation practitioners work together and understand each other, and to teach students on these issues – particularly as many ecosystems are at critical turning points. I’m very excited to be joining the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy and this community of scholars who share an interest in these important issues,” Enrici said.
Enrici’s current research investigates how private foundations affect marine conservation. “As marine and coastal communities and ecosystems increasingly face the stressors of climate change, foundation support for marine conservation efforts is needed more than ever before,” she said. “The research seeks to inform how marine conservation practitioners, donors and other stakeholders can work together and to help inform their efforts towards effective, equitable and enduring ocean philanthropy and conservation.”
Collaborating with an interdisciplinary team of researchers from Colorado State University and Duke University, the project looks at philanthropic foundations as influential sponsors of conservation networks, policy initiatives, and projects around the world. Enrici and the research team are addressing questions about what happens when foundations exit, the roles that foundations play aside from funding, and the legitimate and just role of philanthropic foundations in environmental efforts. Despite the significance of foundations’ role in environmental efforts globally, Enrici said, there has been little research on how shifts in funding impact communities, organizations and conservation agendas.
Moving forward, Enrici is interested in continuing to learn more about how foundations can contribute to building resilience in coastal ecosystems and communities as they face the increasingly present threat of the impacts of climate change.
The new position was made possible by a grant from the McKinney Family Foundation as part of the foundation’s commitment to building an environmentally sustainable future for Indiana. The foundation also has supported graduate-level McKinney Family Philanthropic Fellowships for students at the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, as well as other environmental resilience programs at Indiana University.
“Dr. Enrici’s research will provide environmental professionals and funders with valuable new knowledge and understanding about the ways philanthropy can effectively advance meaningful environmental protection and resilience,” said Robert H. McKinney, chair of the board of directors of the McKinney Family Foundation. “Adding her expertise to the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy’s excellent faculty will attract additional outstanding students and will inspire and prepare them to become future change-makers in the environmental sector.”
“Ash Enrici brings a perfect background to this appointment as our first McKinney Fellow. Our students are enthusiastic for additional opportunities related to social and environmental justice. Professor Enrici’s educational background includes both a Ph.D. in geographical sciences, which provides the technical knowledge for environmental resilience, and undergraduate and graduate degrees in anthropology and applied anthropology, which provides a more nuanced and contextual understanding of society and social justice. I anticipate that Professor Enrici will quickly become a highly sought after faculty member both for her teaching and her research interests and skills,” said Patrick M. Rooney, Ph.D., executive associate dean for academic programs at the school.
Enrici earned her Ph.D. in geographical sciences and a master’s degree in applied anthropology from the University of Maryland and a bachelor’s degree in anthropology at Purdue University. She has conducted research in contexts such as Indonesia, Fiji, Palau and the mid-Atlantic of the United States. She has published several academic articles related to climate change.
About the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy
The Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy at IUPUI is dedicated to improving philanthropy to improve the world by training and empowering students and professionals to be innovators and leaders who create positive and lasting change. The school offers a comprehensive approach to philanthropy through its undergraduate, graduate, certificate and professional development programs, its research and international programs and through The Fund Raising School, Lake Institute on Faith & Giving, the Mays Family Institute on Diverse Philanthropy and the Women’s Philanthropy Institute. Follow us on Twitter, LinkedIn, or Instagram and “Like” us on Facebook.