Elizabeth Dale, Ph.D. '16, Assistant Professor, Nonprofit Leadership, Seattle University
"Giving Among Same-Sex Couples: The Role of Identity in Philanthropic Engagement"
Watch Video Replay
Bio: Elizabeth J. Dale, Ph.D. '16, is an assistant professor in the Master of Nonprofit Leadership Program at Seattle University. Elizabeth received her Ph.D. in Philanthropic Studies in 2016 from the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy. Her research focuses on the philanthropic practices of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) individuals and couples, women’s giving and funding for women’s and girls’ causes, and the intersection of gender and philanthropy. She has presented nationally and internationally on her research as well as on service learning and online teaching methods.
Elizabeth teaches courses in philanthropy, governance, fundraising, and marketing and communications. She enjoys integrating new technologies and learning platforms in her classroom to enhance student engagement, whether teaching in-person or online.
Prior to beginning her Ph.D., Elizabeth served as Director of Development at Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center, a large community hospital based in Chicago, and as a campaign manager for the YWCA Metropolitan Chicago. She also served as Board Treasurer for the Chicago Women’s Health Center, a women’s health collective, where she participated in alternative governance first-hand. She achieved the Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE) designation in 2012. Elizabeth also holds an M.A. in Women’s Studies from The Ohio State University and a B.A. in Journalism and Women’s and Gender Studies from Ohio Wesleyan University.
Abstract: Much of the philanthropic studies research has sought to understand the motivations behind prosocial behaviors, including charitable giving and volunteering. However, the majority of research assumes the White, heterosexual, male donor as the norm. A growing area of research investigates the diversity of philanthropy among racial, ethnic, cultural, and religious minorities, and, specifically examines how minority and marginalized identities can inform and shape charitable giving. Drawing on both an identification and justice model of motivation, this qualitative study investigates gay and lesbian couples’ philanthropic practices and the role of identity in giving. Study participants were highly engaged in philanthropic behaviors, however, giving to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) causes was a fraction of most couples’ philanthropy. Still, sexual orientation identity motivated donors to “give back” to support the LGBT community, pursue public policy changes, and support HIV/AIDS organizations, placing one’s “self” at the center of some decisions to give. Sexual orientation identity also determined which organizations donors would not support. Finally, same-sex couples used their philanthropy to support their communities at-large and be recognized as gay and lesbian couples in mainstream society, using philanthropy as a way to gain visibility and social acceptance.