Ashley Enrici

Assistant Professor of Philanthropic Studies; McKinney Family Fellow of Environmental Resilience & Philanthropy

Ash Enrici
University Hall, Suite 3000
301 University Blvd.
Indianapolis, IN


  • PhD: Geographical Sciences December 2016 | University of Maryland, College Park, MD
  • Master of Applied Arts: Anthropology May 2010| University of Maryland, College Park, MD
  • A.: Anthropology May 2003| Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN


Ash Enrici is an assistant professor at the Lilly School of Philanthropy and a McKinney Family Fellow of Environmental Resilience and Philanthropy. Her current research project investigates how private foundations affect marine conservation.

She has conducted research in contexts such as Indonesia, Fiji, Palau, and the mid-Atlantic of the United States. Using a political ecology lens, her work has included topics of environmental justice, ecosystem-based management, and payment for ecosystem services. She uses collaborative methods of knowledge co-production, ethnography, and Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA).

In her free time Ash explores the ocean as a free diver and has been a certified instructor of freediving since 2015. Originally from Chicago, she has a Master’s in Applied Anthropology and a PhD in Geographical Sciences, both from the University of Maryland.


  • A crisis of confidence: an assessment of REDD+ stakeholder experiences across scales in Indonesia
  • Challenges for REDD+: A case study of three project sites
  • Business as usual in Indonesia: governance factors effecting the deforestation rate after the intro introduction of REDD+
  • Climate Change, Justice, and Adaptation among African American Communities in the Chesapeake Bay Region
  • Social and Cultural Incentives and Obstacles to Adaptation to Increased Coastal Flooding in East Boston, MA USA
  • Coastal Flooding, Climate Change and Environmental Justice: Identifying Obstacles and Incentives for Adaptation in Two Metropolitan Boston Massachusetts Communities

Research Interests

Philanthropic foundations are influential sponsors of conservation networks, policy initiatives, and projects around the world. Yet there has been little research on environmental philanthropy, and even less on how shifts in funding impact communities, organizations, and conservation agendas.

Between 2018-2022, our team is leading a social science research project to develop new insights about ocean philanthropy and foundation exits. In 2018, we co-designed the project with input from more than 100 stakeholders, including grantees and non-grantees in the Pacific region, and individuals from six foundations working in marine conservation globally. Together, we identified the following research questions:

  1. What roles do foundations play in marine conservation?
  2. What are best practices for managing donor exits in marine conservation?
  3. What happens to philanthropic-supported marine conservation agendas after donor exits, and how can we explain differences in outcomes?
  4. What do stakeholders and donors perceive as the legitimate role of foundations in marine conservation?

Our goal is to assist marine conservation practitioners, donors, and other stakeholders by enhancing understanding of the factors that contribute to effective, equitable, and enduring ocean philanthropy and conservation.