The Nonprofit Economy and Public Policy

Course Syllabus Focus

Civil Society

Course Syllabus Institution

Indiana University
Steinberg, Richard

Nonprofit organizations provide an intriguing alternative institutional form for provision of services in higher education, health care, religion, aid to the poor, research, and arts and culture. We first consider the role and behavior of these organizations (If not for profit, for what?), then consider several recent public policy controversies. These include purported fundraising abuses, the funneling of "profits" towards personal gain, "collusion" by universities in the granting of financial aid, commercial activities that may unfairly compete with for-profits, the conversion of multi-billion dollar nonprofit health and health insurance organizations into for-profit entities, and the tax treatment of personal donations. This year, Congress will consider extending estate taxation (with effects on charitable bequests), nonprofit bridge loans, and the IRA charitable rollover, and the Corporation for National and Community Service will consider how to implement the new Social Innovation fund. A good site for updates on public policy, from the nonprofit community perspective, is at

Blog Posts

More on time, value, and time limits

February 19, 2018

A new report applies a theory of time and value in philanthropy to three real cases, to see how a foundation could decide whether to operate with a limited life, based on the amount and kind of value it hopes to create.


Oct 05

Rip Rapson
President and CEO
The Kresge Foundation