USC Price School of Public Policy

James M. Ferris

Emery Evans Olson Chair in Non-Profit Entrepreneurship and Public Policy
Director, Center on Philanthropy and Public Policy

Ralph and Goldy Lewis Hall 210
Los Angeles, CA 90089-0626

Phone: (213) 740-0388

Fax: (213) 740-0001

Ph.D. in Economics

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill


Philanthropy, nonprofit economics, public finance, public policy, institutional analysis

Biographical sketch

James M. Ferris holds the Emery Evans Olson Chair in Nonprofit Entrepreneurship and Public Policy in the Sol Price School of Public Policy at USC and is the founding Director of The Center on Philanthropy and Public Policy. He specializes in the economics of the public and nonprofit sectors, public finance and public policy. He is a Fellow of the National Academy of Public Administration.

Dr. Ferris’ research focuses on the shifting roles of the public, nonprofit and for-profit sectors in governance and the economy. He is currently investigating the changing landscape of philanthropy; roles and strategies for foundation engagement in public policymaking; philanthropic-government partnerships; place-based philanthropy; and philanthropic leadership as reflected in the shared governance between boards of trustees and CEOs of philanthropic foundations.

Dr. Ferris serves as a member of the editorial boards of Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly and the Nonprofit Policy Forum.  He has served as a member of the Independent Sector’s Programs and Practice Committee, the Philanthropy and Partnerships Committee of the National Park Service and the editorial board of the Journal of Public Administration and Theory, including a stint as a founding Associate Editor. In addition, he is a former Vice President of the Association for Research on Nonprofit Organizations and Voluntary Action, and was a member of the Grants Advisory Committee of the Aspen Institute’s Nonprofit Sector and Philanthropy Research Fund, the academic council of the National Center on Nonprofit Enterprise, and Independent Sector’s John Gardner Award Selection Committee.

Dr. Ferris has served as Vice Dean (1995-97) of the Price School and as the founding Director of its Program in Public Policy (1989-93) where he was responsible for initiating, building and developing the Master in Public Policy (MPP) degree program. More recently, he spearheaded the development of the Master’s degree in Nonprofit Leadership and Management (MNLM) at the Price School which launched in June 2015. Professor Ferris teaches courses in public policy, philanthropy and nonprofits, public finance, and political economy of institutions at both the undergraduate and graduate levels.


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