Michael Moody, Ph.D., is the Frey Foundation Chair for Family Philanthropy at the Dorothy A. Johnson Center for Philanthropy at Grand Valley State University, in Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA. The Frey Foundation Chair is the world’s first-ever endowed chair for family philanthropy, and Dr. Moody became the first holder of the chair in 2010.
Dr. Moody serves as an accessible guide to the rapidly evolving and complex landscape of philanthropy and social innovation, helping diverse audiences see the vital role that giving plays in society, and expanding both the practice and understanding of family philanthropy. He straddles the worlds of scholarship and practice, shining a light on the connections between giving and lived experience with both expertise and enthusiasm.
Dr. Moody is trained as a cultural sociologist, with a Ph.D. from Princeton, and has been actively working to understand and improve philanthropy and nonprofit organizations for almost 30 years. He is co-author of the books Generation Impact: How Next Gen Donors Are Revolutionizing Giving (with Sharna Goldseker, 2017), The Philanthropy Reader (with Beth Breeze, 2016), and Understanding Philanthropy: Its Meaning and Mission (with Robert L. Payton, 2008). He is a frequent speaker at venues across the U.S. and worldwide, and a sought-after commentator on philanthropic trends and research. His work has been featured in the New York Times, Washington Post, Chronicle of Philanthropy, Stanford Social Innovation Review, Forbes, Alliance, and elsewhere.
Dr. Moody earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Indiana University, where he then became one of the first employees of the university’s renowned Center on Philanthropy, helping to create the Jane Addams Fellows Program. He received a master’s in social science from the University of Chicago, and his doctoral work at Princeton focused on philanthropic giving and nonprofit organizations. Prior to becoming the Frey Foundation Chair, Dr. Moody held faculty positions at Boston University and the University of Southern California, where he was a faculty fellow at the USC Center on Philanthropy and Public Policy. He also founded Moody Philanthropic Consulting based in Richmond, Virginia. In addition to his books about the theory and social role of philanthropy and donors, his other publications focus on family foundations, venture philanthropy, ethical giving, the notion of “giving back,” donor education, nonprofit advocacy, and many other topics.
Dr. Moody lives with his wife in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and balances a life of the mind by practicing kung fu and hitting golf balls and drums, though rarely at the same time.
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)