When “Place” Meets Community Philanthropy: Exploring The Place Dilemma and Value Creation Beyond Generosity

Presenter: Viviana Chiu-Sik Wu, PhD Candidate in Social Welfare

Discussant: Michael X. Delli Carpini, Professor of Communications and Political Science

Breafast treats, coffee, and tea in the URBS space, Room 130 McNeil!


Community foundations are founded with the embodiment of citizens’ collective vision to improve their communities and meet the needs of their fellow citizens residing in a defined geographical region. Drawing on Bourdieu's notion of capital and space, I look at the effects of “place” to community-based nonprofit organizations, namely community foundations. While “place” is a double-edged sword for community foundations, using population-level data, our empirical results highlight their promising role in leveling off economic inequality within communities. Besides looking at their instrumental performance, I argue that community foundations can serve as an important democratic mediator in creating civic, political and public values across sectors. Using content analysis and supervised machine learning techniques to analyze 13,439 community foundations’ tweets, I take the research to an online playing field by focusing on how and the extent to which community foundations utilize social media (i.e., Twitter) to generate “expressive” value beyond the philanthropic dollars, facilitate civic engagement and advocacy, and engage stakeholders across places and sectors to catalyze community change. Examples will be highlighted, especially those located in economically and/or socially disadvantaged communities in the U.S.