William A. Schambra

The Giving Review co-editor William A. Schambra is a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute in Washington, D.C. He directed Hudson’s Bradley Center for Philanthropy and Civic Renewal from 2003 to 2014. Prior to joining Hudson in ’03, he was Director of Programs at the The Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation in Milwaukee. At Bradley, among other things, he spearheaded creation in 1997 of the National Commission on Philanthropy and Civic Renewal.

Before joining Bradley in 1992, Schambra was a senior advisor to and speechwriter for U.S. Attorney General Edwin Meese III, U.S. Office of Personnel Management Director Constance Horner, and U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Louis Sullivan. He was also Director of Social Policy Programs for the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) and Co-Director of AEI’s “A Decade of Study of the Constitution.”

From 2003 to 2006, Schambra served on the Board of Directors of the Corporation for National and Community Service. From 1984 to 1990, he served as a member of the National Historical Publications and Records Commission, to which he was appointed by President Ronald Reagan. He holds a Ph.D. in Political Science from Northern Illinois University.

Schambra has written extensively on the Constitution, the theory and practice of civic revitalization, and philanthropy, including in The Wall Street Journal, The Public Interest, Public Opinion, Policy Review, RealClearPolicy, The Christian Science Monitor, Philanthropy, The Chronicle of Philanthropy, Philanthropy Daily, Nonprofit Quarterly, First Things, and Crisis. He has edited several books, including As Far as Republican Principles Will Admit: Collected Essays of Martin Diamond, and is a Philanthropy Daily contributing editor.

The NonProfit Times named Schambra among its 2013 Power & Influence Top 50, complimenting him for “consistently sticking his finger in the eye of the sector’s elite” and raising questions “designed to broaden the idea of philanthropy’s role in America today.” When he retired from running the Bradley Center for Philanthropy and Civic Renewal in 2014, Adam Keiper lauded it in National Review for being “a think tank project like no other, since the subjects it focuses on rarely get the kind of thoughtful intellectual attention that Schambra and his colleagues have devoted to them.” Keiper concluded that “[i]f there is any consolation to be had in the fact that the Bradley Center is winding down its work in the next few months, it is that Bill still has a great deal of youthful vim, and will hopefully now have more time to pick up his pen and write.”

Mediating structures: the early days

William A. Schambra’s opening keynote address at the American Enterprise Institute conference on “The Social Breakdown.”

Populist anger and a sole resort to push back against philanthropic elites

Remarks from a panel discussion on populism at the “Foundations on the Hill” event for foundation leaders and officials in Washington, D.C.

Time for the right to rethink and reconsider all around

Christopher DeMuth’s is a deeply insightful critique to be taken seriously, including by conservative philanthropy.

Arabella and The Atlantic

Considering the proper distance between charity and politics.

Revisiting a one-sided social compact

As establishment philanthropy defends its position in American society, it would do well to tend to more than just one flank.

Think Big vs. Think Small Philanthropy

Philanthropy is evermore concerned with “thinking big.” But are there virtues in “thinking small”—and what can you achieve then?

Revisiting Tocqueville, technology, and the Tittabawassee

As shown in and by Sanford, Mich., starting one year ago, it’s often when massive devastation is visited on a population that it discovers its true character.

Getting lost on the way to root causes

In any real-life revision of the parable so often cited by philanthropists, there’s a strong likelihood that the philanthropists forging their way upstream to the source of the problem will never get there. As with the challenge of homelessness in L.A., they will instead become hopelessly entangled in the real-world obstacles that invariably complicate the drive for simplistic, root-cause solutions.