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Fundraising Professionals Select Dr. Elizabeth J. Dale as 2021 Emerging Scholar

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(Arlington, Va.) The Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) has selected Elizabeth J. Dale, Ph.D., assistant professor of nonprofit leadership at Seattle University, for its 2021 Emerging Scholar Award.

Elizabeth J. Dale, Ph.D.
Elizabeth J. Dale, Ph.D.

The award, established by the AFP Research Council in 2013, honors an early-career scholar or scholar-practitioner whose research has and will continue to shape the discourse on philanthropy and fundraising.

Dr. Dale focuses her research on two central questions: “How do people try to improve the world through philanthropic giving?” and “How do gender and sexual orientation influence the philanthropic experience?” Through these questions she examines the field of nonprofit and philanthropic studies to, in her words, “expand our notion of who is considered a donor,” focusing on gender and philanthropy; the LGBTQ community and giving; and diversity, equity and inclusion in fundraising.

An exceptional young scholar, Dr. Dale has worked both independently and collaboratively with colleagues and students “to complicate and disrupt the popular assumption—often reflected in philanthropic scholarship—that the archetype of the philanthropist as an older, white, cisgender, and affluent person is truly the face of charitable giving in the United States.”

“As a former fundraiser and now researcher, I want to show how giving emerges from the complexity of personal experiences, how donor diversity can enhance giving, and identify how donors and fundraisers can contribute to a more equitable and inclusive society,” said Dr. Dale.

Judges rated nominated scholars on their record of scholarship; demonstrated evidence of a further promising career as an academic researcher or scholar-practitioner; demonstrated impact on the state of scholarship or advancement of knowledge; and evidence of impact on fundraising practice.

Dr. Dale has published 10 articles, eight of which were featured in peer-reviewed journals, including two journal articles published in Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly. She has also received significant research grants from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (via Indiana University), Giving USA Foundation, and the Ford Foundation.

Dr. Dale completed her doctorate in philanthropic studies from the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, focusing on giving among same-sex couples. She also holds a master’s degree in women’s studies from The Ohio State University, and an undergraduate degree in both journalism and women’s and gender studies from Ohio Wesleyan University.

“I am honored to receive this award and appreciate the critical role AFP can play in promoting high-quality research to its members,” mentioned Dr. Dale. “I’m grateful for this recognition and opportunity to contribute to bettering the fundraising profession.”

“Dr. Dale has provided new and impactful insight into a variety of areas including women in fundraising, LGBTQ donors and planned giving,” said Russell N. James III, J.D., Ph.D., CFP, chair of the Emerging Scholar Prize Jury. “Her contributions to our sector help to advance equity and justice while making us better fundraisers.”

Established in 1991, the AFP Research Council leads the Association’s efforts to: identify research priorities for AFP; recognize and promote research that informs philanthropy and fundraising practice; and translate and disseminate research-based knowledge to practitioners. The Council also administers the annual AFP/Skystone Partners Research Prize for the best new research-based book related to fundraising and philanthropy.

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