Photo of Susan Phillips

Susan Phillips

Comparative public policy for the third sector; philanthropy and nonprofits; public management

Phone:613-520-2600 x 2633
Office:5213 Richcraft Hall


Graduate Supervisor, Philanthropy and Nonprofit Leadership

BA Honours in Geography (University of Victoria, Canada)
MA in Geography (University of Waterloo, Canada)
MA in Political Science (Carleton University, Canada)
PhD in Political Science (Carleton University, Canada)

Susan’s research focuses on public policy and regulation of philanthropy and the nonprofit sector, financing of charities and nonprofits, cross-sectoral collaboration, community foundations and place-based philanthropy.

Philanthropy – the use of private resources for public purposes – is an important complement to the work of governments and an essential means of building inclusive, resilient communities. Nonprofits provide a wide range of services that our society depends upon; they enable citizens, as volunteers and members, to engage with each other; and they serve as advocates for social change.  As many Canadians work in the nonprofit sector as in natural resources. I am driven to better understand how this diverse sector operates, the changing patterns of financing, giving and volunteering, and how public policy can better enable its work.  As the public, private and nonprofit sectors collaborate and co-produce in new ways, my research seeks to examine the opportunities and challenges this creates.

Selected recent publications and funded research

The Management Context:  UK, US, Australia and Canada.(in press), in Helmut Anheier and Stefan Toepler (eds.) The Routledge Companion to Nonprofit Management. London: Routledge.

Dancing with Giraffes: Why Philanthropy Matters for Public Management (2018), Canadian Public Administration, 61(2): 151-183.

On Impact: Emerging Challenges of Evaluation for Canada’s Nonprofit Sector (2018), in Keith E. Seel (ed.), The Management of Nonprofit and Charitable Organizations in Canada 3rd ed. Toronto:  LexisNexis. (with Victoria Carlan).

Inputs to Outputs: Redesign of the Canadian Citizenship Regime (2018) in Mireille Paquet, Nora Nagels and Aude-Claire Fourot (eds.), Citizenship as a Regime: Canadian and International Perspectives. Montreal & Kingston: McGill-Queen’s University Press. (with Rachel Laforest).

Routledge Companion to Philanthropy (2016) London: Routledge. (co-editor and co-author with Tobias Jung and Jenny Harrow).

Knowledge as Leadership, Belonging as Community: How Canadian Community Foundations are using Vital Signs for Social Change (2016), Foundation Review, 8(Special Issue): 65-79. (with Ian Bird, Laurel Carlton and Lee Rose).

The Changing and Challenging Environment of Nonprofit Human Services:  Implications for Governance and Program Implementation (2016), Nonprofit Policy Forum, 7(1): 63-76. (with Steven Rathgeb Smith).

International Trends in Government-Nonprofit Relations:  Constancy, Change and Contradictions (2016), in E. Boris and E. Steuerle (eds.) Nonprofits and Government: Collaboration and Conflict 3rd ed. Washington, DC: Urban Institute, in press. (with Mark Blumberg).

A New ‘New’ Philanthropy:  From Impetus to Impact (2016), in Tobias Jung, Susan D. Phillips and Jenny Harrow (eds.), Routledge Companion to Philanthropy. London, UK:  Routledge. (with Tobias Jung).

Public Policy for Philanthropy: Catching the Wave or Creating a Backwater? (2016) in Tobias Jung, Susan D. Phillips and Jenny Harrow (eds.), Routledge Companion to Philanthropy. London, UK: Routledge.(with Steven Rathgeb Smith).

Community Foundations: Agility in the Duality of Foundation and Community (2016) in Tobias Jung, Susan D. Phillips and Jenny Harrow (eds.), Routledge Companion to Philanthropy. London, UK:  Routledge.(with Jenny Harrow and Tobias Jung).

A Dawn of Policy Convergence? Third Sector Policy and Regulatory Change among the ‘Anglo-Saxon’ Cluster (2014), Public Management Review, 16(8): 1141-63. (with Steven Rathgeb Smith)

Restructuring Civil Society in Canada, Muting the Politics of Redistribution (2013) in Keith G. Banting  and John Myles (eds.), The Fading of Redistributive Politics: Policy Change and Policy Drift in Canada. Vancouver: UBC Press.

Shining Light on Charities or Looking in the Wrong Place? Transparency and Co-Regulation in Canada (2013) Voluntas, 24(3): 881-905. Awarded Best Paper in the journal for 2013.

Developing a Better Understanding of Community Foundation in the UK’s Localisms (2013) Policy and Politics, 41(3): 409-27. (with Tobias Jung and Jenny Harrow)

Recent Grants

Strategies for Enhancing the Financial Sustainability of Canada’s Charities (2018) Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) Insight Grant, $220,400 over four years. (PI).

Community Philanthropy:  Building an International Research Partnership (2018) Carleton University International Research Partnerships Seed Grant. $10,000 (PI).

The Demand Side of Impact Investing (2011-2016) Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC), Community University Research Alliance. “Responsible and Impact Investing.” $1 million over five years. (Collaborator; T. Hebb, PI). This project $25,000.

Place-based Philanthropy:  The Changing Role of Community Foundations in Community Leadership (2012-2016) Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) Insight Grant. $116,000. (PI).

Recent Teaching

PANL 5002 – Policy and Legal Environment for Philanthropy and Civil Society

PANL 5007 – Program Evaluation for Philanthropy and Nonprofits

PANL 5010 – Capstone

PADM 5129 – Capstone

Recent Supervision

Megan Conway (Postdoc 2019-2021) The Geography of Capacity: An Analysis of Individual, Organizational and Community Needs and Resources in Three Communities in Canada. Mitacs Elevate Funding.

Jacqueline Wood (PhD Completed 2019) Regulatory Waves: Regulation and Self-Regulation of Civil Society Organizations in Kenya.

Nataliya Rylska (PhD Completed 2018) Governance in the Internal Audit Sector of the Canadian Federal Government.

Fahad Ahmed (Committee Member, in progress) Civil Society Organizations and the Radicalization of Muslim Youth..

Viviana Wu (School of Social Policy and Practice, University of Pennsylvania, Committee Member, in progress) The Promises and Challenges of Community Philanthropy: Exploring Place Dilemma, Community Leadership and Social Media Engagement for Leading Change.

Ian Bron (Committee Member, in progress) Square Peg in a Round Hole? Case Study into Institutional Factors Affecting Responses to Whistleblowing.

Katherine Occhuito,(School of Social Work, Committee Member, in progress) The Nonprofit Sector in Poverty Reduction.

Recent Editorships and Academic Offices

Co-Editor-in-Chief, Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, 2016-2022.

Member, Editorial Board, Public Management Review, 2010-

Recent Awards and Distinctions

Research and Career Service Recognition, Canadian Association of Programs in Public Administration (CAPPA), 2019.

Distinguished Service Award for Contribution And Leadership in Research And Practice, Association for Nonprofit and Social Economy Research (ANSER-ARES), 2016.

Potter Foundation Visiting Fellow, Queensland University of Technology, Australian Centre for Nonprofit Studies, Brisbane, 2016

Impact Award, Carleton University for ‘outstanding contributions that entail mobilizing one’s teaching, research, and administrative skills to play a notable role in building on institutional strengths and connections to make a difference, 2015

Visiting Fellow, School of Social Policy and Practice, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, USA

International Research Society for Third Sector Research (ISTR) Award for Best Paper published in Voluntas in 2013

Elected, Visiting Fellow, Lucy Cavendish College, University of Cambridge, 2010-2011, 2012

Visiting Fellow, Centre for Charitable Giving and Philanthropy, Cass Business School, City University London, 2010-2011