Patrick Rooney

Executive Associate Dean for Academic Programs; Professor of Economics and Philanthropic Studies

Academic Programs
Patrick Rooney


University Hall, Suite 3000
301 University Boulevard
Indianapolis, IN


  • B.A., Economics, University of Notre Dame, May 1980
  • University of Innsbruck, Sophomore Year Abroad Program, 1977–78
  • M.A., Economics, University of Notre Dame, May 1985
  • Ph.D., Economics, University of Notre Dame, Defended: August 1987


Patrick Rooney is the executive associate dean for academic programs at Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy and professor of economics and philanthropic studies (2012–present). A nationally recognized expert on philanthropy and charitable giving, Dr. Rooney speaks frequently across the country on issues related to philanthropy and management of nonprofit organizations and has been quoted by national news media outlets such as PBS’s Nightly Business Report, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, and USA Today. He has served as a member of several national advisory groups, including advisory committees for the U.S. Corporation for National and Community Service, the U.S. Bureau of the Census’ Current Population Survey, the Association of Fundraising Professionals, INDEPENDENT SECTOR, outgoing chair of the Board for the Nonprofit Academic Centers Council, Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Alliance, and the Commission on Accountability and Policy for Religions Panel on Nonprofit Sector Representatives.

Prior to joining the Center on Philanthropy, Dr. Rooney served as both special assistant to the Indiana University vice president for long-range planning and chancellor of Indiana University–Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) and as assistant dean for academic programs for Indiana University–Purdue University Columbus (Indiana). He has served as a board or committee member for several nonprofit organizations, including the Techpoint Foundation, the Rollins College Philanthropy & Nonprofit Leadership Center, United Way of Central Indiana Strategic Planning Committee, and the Children’s Bureau of Indianapolis.

Dr. Rooney previously served as the Center on Philanthropy’s chief operating officer and as the director of research from 1999 to 2008. He created the center’s formal in-house research program, building it into one of the premier philanthropy research organizations in the nation. He directed center-wide research activities, including overseeing the center’s signature research project, the Center on Philanthropy Panel Study (COPPS). Conducted in collaboration with the University of Michigan’s Panel Study of Income Dynamics, COPPS is the largest and most accurate study of charitable giving over time ever conducted. Dr. Rooney also led the Center’s ongoing research projects, including the research and writing for Giving USA, which is produced by Giving USA Foundation. He coordinated the Center’s extensive contract research program and has guided research for clients such as Bank of America, American Express, Target Corporation, United Way of America, the Business Civic Leadership Center, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. In 2008 Dr. Rooney and the Center’s research team received the John Grenzebach Research Award for Outstanding Published Scholarship from the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE). Patrick then served as executive director at the Center of Philanthropy from 2008 to 2012.

A professor of economics and philanthropic studies at IUPUI and a member of the graduate school faculty at Indiana University, Dr. Rooney is a prolific researcher with an extensive body of published research. He earned his B.A., M.A., and Ph.D. in economics at the University of Notre Dame and a Certificate of Management Development at Harvard University. He also earned a Certificate in Fund Raising Management from The Fund Raising School at Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy.

Courses Taught

  • PHST/E514 Nonprofit Economics
  • E201 Micro Economics
  • E202 Macro Economics
  • E304 Labor Economics
  • E560 Public Finance
  • E517 Managerial Economics


See attached CV.

News Articles


  • January 16, The NonProfit Times
  • January 17, Chronicle of Philanthropy
  • January 18, Deseret News
  • January 21, USA Today
  • January 21, The NonProfit Time;
  • February 25, New York Times
  • March 7, New York Times
  • April 9, Government Accountability Office (Loren Obler)
  • May 22, Fidelity’s Viewpoints  
  • June 10, NonProfit Times
  • June 10, Chronicle
  • June 13, Associated Press
  • June 16, NonProfit Quarterly
  • June 16, NonProfit Times
  • June 18, Wall Street Journal
  • June 19, KC Cares
  • June 19, U.S. News
  • June 24, Chronicle of Philanthropy
  • June 26, Chronicle
  • June 26, Round Table, Advisory Council
  • August 18, USA Today
  • August 26, National Public Radio
  • August 27, Chronicle of Philanthropy
  • August 28, Minnesota Public Radio
  • September 14, Barron’s Penta
  • September 29, Chronicle of Philanthropy
  • October 8, USA Today
  • October 8, Indianapolis Star
  • October 13, Philanthropy Matters
  • October 14, Fort Wayne News Sentinel
  • October 15,
  • October 15, New York Times
  • October 16, Voice of America
  • October 17, Family Wealth Report
  • October 17, Non-Profit Time
  • October 20, Wall Street Journal
  • October 20, The New York Times
  • October 27, Los Angelos Times
  • October 27, New York Times
  • October 31, Sirius XM Catholic Channel
  • November 6, Philanthropy Matters
  • November 6, The New York Times
  • November 7, WNYZ (NPR station, NYC)
  • November 10, USA Today
  • November 14, Parade Magazine
  • November 20, USA Today
  • November 21, USA Today
  • December 2, Chronicle of Philanthropy
  • December 3, Bloomberg News
  • December 18, Nonprofit Quarterly
  • December 22, Market Place Public Radio
  • December 23, Washington Times
  • January 6, NonProfit Quarterly

Research Interests

I’m interested in several aspects of philanthropy: how much households, corporations, foundations, and estates give; to what charities they donate, and why. What are the roles of income, wealth, educational attainment, marital status, gender, race, and ethnicity in determining who gives? How they give? Where they give? And how much they give—both overall and by subsector?

I’m also interested in the roles that public policies play. For example, how do changes in income, capital gains, and charitable bequests tax rates and/or exemption levels affect household giving? Do the proposed tax caps on charitable deductions matter? Are institutional donors such as foundations and corporations affected by public policy decisions on tax rates and spending restrictions? Does the business cycle affect giving overall and by different types of donors? Did the Great Recession have a disproportional impact? Does the distribution of income and/or wealth affect how much is donated and to what types of charities? Does government spending encourage private philanthropy or displace it?

I am interested in nonprofit organizations and how they report information about their costs including salaries, fundraising, and overhead. Do they invest in fundraising proudly? Do they ignore it or even (misleadingly) hide it?

Finally, I think research methods matter and these differences need to be understood with respect to philanthropy. This applies to measuring giving and volunteering, as well as fundraising and overhead costs. Methodology is destiny. We need case studies, experimental research programs, as well as large-scale datasets. We need humanities-based research and social science approaches, and we need them done well with both rigor and acknowledgement of their respective strengths and limitations.

Current Projects

  • “Bequests and Estate Giving,” (with Amir Hayat, Jonathan Bergdoll, Michal Kramarek and Xiaoyun Wang.)
  • “Great Recession: What Really Happened to the Nonprofit Sector and Why?” (with Una Osili, Xiaoyun Wang, Amir Hayat.)
  • “Earned, Owned, or Transferred: Are Donations Sensitive to the Composition of Income and Wealth? Inheritance and Charitable Donations,” (with Richard Steinberg, Ye Zhang and Eleanor Brown. Revise and resubmit.)
  • “Re-evaluation of Overhead and Fundraising Efficiency Measures: The Role of Size, Age, and Subsector.” (with Thomas Pollak and Michal Kramarek).
  • “The Stability of Donors and Giving Over Time,” (with Mark Wilhelm, Jonathan Bergdoll and Xiaoyun Wang.)
  • “The Impact of the Obama Administration’s Proposals to Cap the Value of Charitable Donations on Household Giving,” (with Jonathan Bergdoll and Amir Hayat.)
  • “The Impact of Capital Gains Taxes on Giving by U.S. Households,” (with Ke Wu and Michal Kramarek.)

Honors & Awards

See attached CV.

Grants & Funding

See attached CV.


See attached CV.

Other Activities

  • Developed proposal for an entire online master’s degree 2014–2015.
  • Member, Nonprofit Academic Centers Council (NACC) Board 2008–present.
  • President, Nonprofit Academic Centers Council (NACC) 2012–2014.
  • Immediate Past President, Nonprofit Academic Centers Council (NACC) 2014–2016.
  • Member, Charitable Forecast Advisory Committee on Methodology, October 2014 to present.
  • Conducted Promotion and Tenure Workshop for Faculty October 2014.
  • Member, IUPUI, External Review Team, five-year program review for Tourism, Convention and Event Management School, 2014.
  • Panelist, NACC Curricular Guidelines, ARNOVA Conference, November 20, 2014.
  • Member, Alliance for Charitable Reform Advisory Council, 2014.
  • Developed workshop and presented at External Accountability Discussion for Indianapolis charities. December 12, 2014.
  • Fund Raising: Help raise dollars for endowed chairs, scholarships and research.
  • Developed Faculty Workload Policy for IU Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, 2014.
  • Member, Council of Academic Program Deans, 2012–2014.
  • Member, Giving USA, Research Advisory Council, 2000–present.
  • Member, Aspen Institute Data Project, 2008–present.