Yale's Nonprofit Program Announces New Leadership

Yale University Divinity School Dean Richard J. Wood has announced the appointment of new leadership for the Program on Non-Profit Organizations (PONPO), a research center that studies philanthropy, voluntarism, and nonprofit organizations.

Gene Outka, the Dwight Professor of Philosophy and Christian Ethics, was named chair of the Program; Lisa R. Berlinger, associate research scholar and Yale Divinity School lecturer on church and society, was named director.

“Bringing together Gene Outka’s and Lisa Berlinger’s gifts is a wonderful affirmation of the Divinity School’s historic commitment to teaching and research on leadership and public service,” Wood said. “Combining Outka’s broad mastery of ethics and theology with Berlinger’s knowledge of management and organizations gives PONPO capacity unlike that of any other nonprofit program in the country.”

Yale was the first university in the country to have a professorship in this field with the establishment of the Gilbert L. Stark Chair of Practical Philanthropy in 1914. PONPO, founded in 1977 by University President Kingman Brewster, Law School Professor John G. Simon, and political economist Charles E. Lindblom, was the first academic center in the world to sponsor basic research on philanthropy, voluntarism and nonprofit organizations. Researchers associated with the program produced much of the basic literature in the nonprofit field. Today, nearly 100 institutions offer courses, programs or degrees in these areas.

PONPO moved to the Divinity School in 1998, having previously been located within the Institution for Social and Policy Studies, in order to begin a new curriculum development initiative complementing a decade of intensive research on religious organizations, nonprofit governance, and the history of non-proprietary entities. During the 1998-99 academic year, faculty affiliated with the program offered courses on religion in public life, faith-based organizations, leadership development, and the role of religious nonprofit organizations in community building. The latter course was taught by Pier Rogers, a visiting Fellow from the Nonprofit Management Program at the New School for Social Research.

Outka holds a Bachelor of Divinity degree from Yale University Divinity School and M.A. and Ph.D. degrees from Yale University. He taught for 10 years in the Department of Religion at Princeton University, joining the Yale faculty in 1975 with a joint appointment in the Department of Religious Studies and the Divinity School. His publications include Agape: An Ethical Analysis (1972), Norm and Context in Christian Ethics (1968), Religion and Morality (1973), and Prospects for a Common Morality (1993), as well as articles on health policy and bioethics.

A graduate of Georgetown University and the University of Texas at Austin, Berlinger came to Yale from the Weatherhead School of Management at Case Western Reserve University. Her publications include studies of computer use by religious congregations, evaluation, and organizational design.

“The appointment of a distinguished ethicist to head the program is extraordinarily timely, given the current crisis of public trust in nonprofit organizations,” says Peter Dobkin Hall, PONPO’s outgoing director. Hall, who has been at Yale since 1973, will be joining the faculty of the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard in January 2000. He will continue his affiliation with PONPO as the Leonard Bacon Research Fellow. Bacon, a Yale University Divinity School professor and pastor of Center Church, wrote the first published article on nonprofit governance in 1847.

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Gila Reinstein: gila.reinstein@yale.edu, 203-432-1325