Independent Sector's Visiting Scholars Program

Independent Sector’s Visiting Scholar program ensures that our work on behalf of our members and the broader sector is deeply informed by the best of nonprofit research.  The program, which typically connects a scholar and the IS team for approximately a year, has helped facilitate a deeper integration of both the research and lived experience of academics and practitioners – all in service of a healthier, more equitable sector that is better equipped to serve our respective missions.

This ongoing collaboration between IS and the academic community has delivered new tools and new insights for our sector, including: the Health of the US Nonprofit Sector Report; the development of the National Survey of Nonprofit Trends and Impacts; and critical insights into nonprofit engagement in public policy advocacy.

Scholar Spotlight:
“A Shock to the Status Quo: Characteristics of Nonprofits that Make Strategic Decisions During a Crisis”

This new Independent Sector research paper, led by Visiting Scholar Dr. Mirae Kim, discusses the changes nonprofits made in response to COVID-19 and looks at the characteristics of the most adaptive nonprofits. This study underscores the crucial role of government-nonprofit partnerships, adaptable leadership, and proactive planning for changes during a crisis. Most importantly, it provides a roadmap that nonprofit leaders can use to navigate ambiguity, embrace change, and forge a sustainable path toward growth and impact.

Meet our Current and Former Scholars

Visiting Scholars support the development of a research agenda to fill information gaps in sector-wide policy work, conduct research or lead a data-focused project, and educate nonprofits about topics relevant to the scholar’s experience and expertise.

2023 – Present

2021 – 2023

2020 – 2021

2019 – 2020


For more information on this program, please contact