Dr. Elizabeth Dale receives 2021 Emerging Scholar

Written by Karen L. Bystrom and Association of Fundraising Professionals
March 17, 2021

Elizabeth J. Dale, PhD, Assistant Professor, Nonprofit Leadership is the recipient of the 2021 Emerging Scholar Award from the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP)

Headshot of Dr. Elizabeth DaleThe 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.

Since 1960, the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) has been the standard-bearer for professionalism in fundraising. The association works to advance effective and ethical philanthropy by providing advocacy, research, education, mentoring, collaboration and technology opportunities for the world’s largest network of professional fundraisers. AFP’s 26,000 members in more than 240 chapters raise over $100 billion annually for a wide variety of charitable organizations and causes across the globe. For more information, visit the website.

Seattle University’s Nonprofit Leadership program offers students the opportunity to develop the critical skills, perspectives, and experiences needed to lead for a more just and humane world. Both our Master of Nonprofit Leadership (MNPL) and our Graduate Certificate in Fundraising Leadership center social justice and provide pathways for students to engage communities, align their leadership practice with their values, transform and sustain organizations, expand their networks, and advocate for equity and justice. Learn more.