Michael Moody joined the Johnson Center in 2010 as the nation’s first endowed chair focusing on family philanthropy. He is trained as a cultural sociologist and has been actively working to understand and improve philanthropy and nonprofit organizations for more than 25 years.
As the Frey Chair, Dr. Moody works with a network of national advisors and partners to implement a comprehensive program of applied research, teaching, professional development, and public service, all designed to advance and promote the field of family philanthropy in the United States.
After earning a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Indiana University, Dr. Moody was one of the first employees of the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University where he helped develop the Jane Addams Fellows program. He went on to receive a master’s degree in social science from the University of Chicago and a doctorate in sociology from Princeton University, with a research focus on philanthropic giving and nonprofit organizations.
Dr. Moody was a university professor for nine years, first at Boston University and then the University of Southern California, where he was a faculty fellow at the USC Center on Philanthropy and Public Policy. From 2008–2010 he was President of Moody Philanthropic Consulting, LLC, based in Richmond, VA, providing research and writing, project development, advising, and related services.
He co-authored (with Beth Breeze) the recently published book, The Philanthropy Reader (Routledge, 2017). He is also co-author (with Robert L. Payton) of the book, Understanding Philanthropy: Its Meaning and Mission (Indiana University Press, 2008), a book highlighting the vital but often neglected importance of philanthropy in our lives, and outlining a conceptual framework for thinking about the role philanthropy plays in any society.
Dr. Moody has also done extensive research and writing on topics such as family foundations, next generation giving, donor education, ethical giving, venture philanthropy, giving as “giving back,” and how nonprofits advocate for the public good. He recently co-authored the study, Next Gen Donors: Respecting Legacy, Revolutionizing Philanthropy, and wrote about the findings in Forbes, Stanford Social Innovation Review, and Chronicle of Philanthropy. He is a frequent speaker about philanthropy at venues across the U.S. and worldwide.
Areas of Expertise
- Family Philanthropy
- Family Foundations
Media & Mentions
- The New York Times; Learning to Bridge a Generation Gap in Philanthropy (July 2017)
- WMUK Radio; Two Proud (But Different) Philanthropic Communities (July 2017)
- Grand Valley Lanthorn; Understanding community giving (July 2017)
- GVNow; GVSU researchers use new method to explore giving traits of specific communities (June 2017)
- WGVU Morning Show with Shelley Irwin; Millennials and the next generation of philanthropists (April 2017)
- WalletHub; 2016’s Most Charitable States (Nov 2016)
- GMNsight; Youth Philanthropy: Collaborative From the Start (Sept 2016)
- Australian Centre for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Studies; New publication on philanthropy now available (July 2016)
- MiBiz; Charitable dollars ebb and flow as total giving reaches record high (June 2016)
- Center for Nonprofit Excellence; #NextGenDonors: Respecting Legacy, Revolutionizing Philanthropy (Jan 2016)
- Advancing Philanthropy; Deciphering DAFs (June 2015)
- MiBiz; Report outlines how millennials are changing the face of philanthropic giving (March 2015)
- The Chronicle of Philanthropy; Young Tech Donors Take Leading Role in Philanthropy 50 (Feb 2015)
- New Philanthropy Capital Blog; Engaging Young Donors in an Aging Society (Feb 2015)
- Crain’s Detroit Business; A new age of giving: Grand Rapids philanthropy evolves from a generation whose names dot landscape (Oct 2014)
- MiBiz.com; Johnson Center studies evolving philanthropic landscape (April 2014)
- San Francisco Jewish Weekly; Assimilated younger generation still gives Jewishly, report says (Oct 2013)
- Fundraising Success; First-of-its-kind study reveals new picture of Jewish next gen major donors (Aug 2013)
- HuffPost Detroit; Detroit foundations perform civic triage, aiding education, economic development and more (May 2013)
- The Chronicle of Philanthropy;Young wealthy donors bring taste for risk, hands-on involvement to philanthropy (May 2013)
- Forbes; What it means to be a philanthropist — Gen Xers and Millennials weigh in (April 2013)
- Family Giving News; Who are the next generation of major donors? (Feb 2013)
- MiBiz.com; Young philanthropists crave involvement (Feb 2013)
- Stanford Social Innovation Review; Next Gen Donors and their plan for greater impact (Feb 2013)
- Philanthropy North Carolina Blog; Emerging donors aim for impact, involvement (Feb 2013)
- The Washington Post; In study of next generation donors, good news for start-ups, social entrepreneurs and innovators (Feb 2013)
- Texas Non Profits; A groundbreaking report sheds light on next-generation philanthropists (Feb 2013)
- PRWeb; Groundbreaking report sheds light on next-generation philanthropists (Jan 2013)
- Holland Sentinel; GVSU report provides insight into next-gen philanthropists (Jan 2013)