Influential Faculty

— Philanthropy, Nonprofits, and Social Innovation —

USC Price faculty members are among the most influential thought leaders in the field of philanthropy, nonprofits, and social innovation worldwide. They conduct rigorous and relevant research, mentor and prepare new generations of talent for the sector, and convene and share insights with philanthropic, nonprofit, and government and corporate executives — ensuring a strong linkage between scholarship and practice while fostering cross-sectoral collaboration.


Nicolas Duquette

Assistant Professor
Duquette employs economics, politics and history to trace the development and behavior of nonprofit organizations. He currently is researching the adaptations of charities to changes in government grants and tax subsidies, with particular focus on the changes brought by the Johnson-era War on Poverty.


Nicole E. Esparza

Assistant Professor
Director, Graduate Programs in Nonprofit Leadership and Management

With a research focus on collaborative networks of organizations and urban inequality, Esparza teaches courses on public policy and management and program evaluation. She currently is studying how social forces shape the urban nonprofit sector, particularly homeless and anti-poverty organizations.


James M. Ferris

Emery Evans Olson Chair in Nonprofit Entrepreneurship and Public Policy
Director, Center on Philanthropy and Public Policy

Ferris teaches courses on philanthropy, the nonprofit sector, and public policy. With a research focus on the shifting roles of the public, nonprofit, and for-profit sectors in governance and the economy, he currently investigates the changing landscape of philanthropy, foundation strategies for public policy engagement, and nonprofit strategy.


Elizabeth Graddy

USC Vice Provost for Academic and Faculty Affairs
Jeffrey J. Miller Chair in Government, Business, and the Economy

Graddy’s research focuses on the role of nonprofit and business organizations in public service delivery, organizational structure and performance, and how information asymmetry and uncertainty affect institutional design and effectiveness.


Alexandra Graddy-Reed

Assistant Professor
Graddy-Reed focuses on the evolving outcome- and impact-minded strategies of grantmakers. Grounded in theories of public economics, institutional change, and innovation production, her current research evaluates the effect of competition between grantmakers on outcomes to assess if it promotes or deters innovation. She teaches courses on the theories and policies of nonprofits and social innovation.


Jack H. Knott

C. Erwin and Ione L. Piper Chair and Professor

Knott has conducted extensive research on how philanthropy and foundations influence public policy and public service delivery, primarily in the areas of healthcare and education. He has investigated the innovation of foundations in the healthcare field, as well as how foundations can partner with government and private business to address social and economic issues.


Alan Kreditor

Senior Vice President Emeritus, USC

As senior vice president for university advancement from 1992 to 2008, Kreditor directed USC’s relations with the philanthropic and volunteer communities. He spearheaded an ambitious and successful fundraising effort at USC: the Building on Excellence campaign. He also was instrumental in establishing the USC Lusk Center for Real Estate.


Gary Dean Painter

Director of Social Policy, Center for Social Innovation

Painter is an expert on housing, education, and immigration policy and the director of social policy for the Sol Price Center for Social Innovation (CSI). CSI facilitates research and evaluation of social innovation that improves the quality of life for people in low-income urban communities in Southern California and across the globe. CSI also works with community-based organizations on program design and evaluation.


Shui Yan Tang

Frances R. and John J. Duggan Professor in Public Administration
With a focus on public policy and administration, environmental management, and community-based governance, Tang is research director of the Bedrosian Center on Governance and the Public Enterprise. He researches and publishes extensively on issues related to environmental nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) in the United States, as well as civil society and NGO development in Asia.