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Top Fundraising Research Prize Award to Harvard University's Rachel McCleary

(June 22, 2010) The Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) has awarded its top research award, the Skystone Partners Prize for Research on Fundraising and Philanthropy, to Rachel McCleary for her book, Global Compassion: Private Voluntary Organizations and U.S. Foreign Policy Since 1939.

Each year, the AFP Research Council awards the Skystone Partners Prize for Research to the author of a book that contributes substantially to the knowledge and understanding of fundraising or philanthropic behavior. This marks the 20th year of the award program. The award is made possible by an endowment established by Skystone Partners, LLC through the AFP Foundation for Philanthropy to encourage advanced research that extends the knowledge of fundraising and philanthropy.

McCleary's work was selected by a judging committee of AFP's Research Council and was praised as first truly comprehensive study of private voluntary organizations and their complex interaction with the U.S. federal government. The committee noted the book's comprehensive research and thought-provoking discussion of funding of international development- a sub-sector that is increasingly raising funds from individuals and other philanthropic and private sources in addition to being supported by the U.S. government.

Global Compassion presents a unique data set on the revenue of private voluntary agencies that exposes as myth the common claim that these agencies historically have been independent from the federal government. This book examines how U.S. foreign policy has shaped the relationship between international private voluntary organizations (PVOs) and the federal government.  PVOs-AmeriCares Foundation, Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, CARE, World Vision, and Catholic Relief Services, to name just a few, perform a vital function.

Using a new data set on revenue (private, federal, and international) from 1939 to 2005, this book analyzes the nature of PVO financial dependence of the federal government as well as movement toward private funding.  McCleary's analysis underscores two recent trends in foreign aid: the commercialization of aid to for-profit contractors and the increasing involvement of the military in humanitarian and stabilizations efforts.

"McCleary's Global Compassion provides long-overdue analysis of the pros and cons, the issues, the possibilities, and the particulars of fundraising for international NGOs, and much-needed perspectives on the state of affairs as well as future possibilities," the council said in its statement about the award-winning book.

Rachel McCleary is a Senior Research Fellow, Taubman Center, Harvard Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University; Associate Research Fellow for the Hoover Institution, Stanford University; and Visiting Scholar, American Enterprise Institute. In addition to her book Global Compassion: Private Voluntary Organizations and U.S. Foreign Policy Since 1939, McCleary is the author of The Oxford Handbook of the Economics of Religion, and Dictating Democracy: Guatemala and the End of Violent Revolution. More information about Dr. McCleary, her book and research can be found at

"When we think of international work and aid, we tend to think of government support," said Paulette V. Maehara, CFRE, CAE. "But the truth is, as Rachel's book points out, charities and charitable fundraising are increasingly critical in global efforts and have significant impact in not just funds raised, but also government policy as well. Rachel's book is a milestone in shedding light on international development efforts in the past and what we might see in the future. It's an extraordinary volume, and AFP is humbled to be able to honor her."

The Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) presented the prestigious Skystone Partners Prize for Research to McCleary during a special reception at the recent 47th AFP International Conference on Fundraising in Baltimore. 

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The Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) represents over 30,000 members in 212 chapters throughout the world, working to advance philanthropy through advocacy, research, education and certification programs. The association fosters development and growth of fundraising professionals and promotes high ethical standards in the fundraising profession. For more information, go to

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