Laurie Paarlberg

Charles Stewart Mott Chair on Community Foundations; Professor of Philanthropic Studies

Laurie Paarlberg


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


  • Ph D, Indiana University, 2003
    Public Affairs (School of Public and Environmental Affairs)
    Concentrations: Public Management/Public Policy
    Outside Minor: Organizational Theory & Strategic Management (Kelley School of Business)
  • BS, Purdue University, 1980
    Major: Agricultural Economics
    Concentration: Community Development


Laurie Paarlberg holds the Charles Stewart Mott Chair on Community Foundations at the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy and is an affiliate faculty in the School of Public and Environmental Affairs (IUPUI). Her nonprofit research focuses on the changing nature of community philanthropy, with a particular focus on strategic shifts in grant making by local United Ways and community foundations. With changing demographics in local communities, she is also interested in issues of equity and diversity in grant making and the rural/urban divide.

Dr. Paarlberg’s publications include numerous articles in refereed journals, including Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector QuarterlyVoluntasVoluntary Sector ReviewPublic Administration ReviewInternational Public Management Journal, and American Review of Public Administration. Dr. Paarlberg’s research has been funded by the National Science Foundation, the Corporation for National and Community Service, and the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation.

She has received the Best Paper Award for Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, the Best Conference Paper at the Association for Research on Nonprofit Organizations and Voluntary Action (ARNOVA) Conference, and the Accenture Advances in Public Management Award, Accenture Corporation, for Best Paper in International Public Management Journal.

Before coming to the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, she was an associate professor in the Bush School of Government and Public Service (Texas A&M University) and held the Robert H. and Judy L. Allen Professorship.

Research Reports

Courses Taught

  • Philanthropy and Civic Engagement


Research Interests

  • Community philanthropy
  • Community impact and public grant making
  • Equity, diversity and community grant making
  • Rural philanthropy

Current Projects

  • Mapping the Landscape of Community Grant Making Organizations
  • Examining the Community-Level Determinants of the Rural-Urban Volunteering Divide

Grants & Funding

  • “Mapping the Landscape of Community Grant Making Organizations. C.S. Mott Foundation” $125,000. (8/1/2018-7/31/2020).
  • “Institutional Competing Logics: Local Context vs. National Identity in United Way Systems”  National Science Foundation, Division of Social and Economic Sciences Award # 1127971. $266,000.00. (8/15/2011-8/15/2014)
  • “Examining the Community-Level Determinants of the Rural-Urban Volunteering Divide” Corporation for National and Community Service $147,143. (10/01/2017-9/31/2018).