Lucy Bernholz, Ph.D.

Lucy Bernholz is a Senior Research Scholar at Stanford University’s Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society (Stanford PACS) and Director of the Digital Civil Society Lab. She has been a Visiting Scholar at The David and Lucile Packard Foundation, and a Fellow at the Rockefeller Foundation’s Bellagio Center, the Hybrid Reality Institute, and the New America Foundation.

She is the author of numerous articles and books, including the annual Blueprint Series on Philanthropy and the Social Economy, the 2010 publication Disrupting Philanthropy, and her 2004 book Creating Philanthropic Capital Markets: The Deliberate Evolution. She is a co-editor of Philanthropy in Democratic Societies (2016, Chicago University Press) and of the forthcoming volume Digital Technology and Democratic Theory. She writes extensively on philanthropy, technology, and policy on her award winning blog,

She studied history and has a B.A. from Yale University, where she played field hockey and captained the lacrosse team, and an M.A. and Ph.D. from Stanford University.

Posts by Lucy Bernholz, Ph.D.

Digital Impact: Reflections from Beijing

With support from the Ai You Foundation, Digital Impact Beijing brought together 140 participants from Chinese nonprofits, foundations, corporate social responsibility programs, and universities. The opportunity to learn with and from networks of nonprofits in China – with its rapidly developing nonprofit sector and its singular digital culture – was exciting. The nonprofit and foundation […]

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Digital literacy: A core capacity for 21st century nonprofits

Over the last twenty years nonprofit organizations have gotten steadily better at financial management, communications, and evaluation. For many organizations these are now core capacities. Such changes were driven by several factors, and in turn have informed and helped drive the impact investment movement, social media for good efforts, and collective evaluation and evidence-based decision […]

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Reflections: Transforming the sector in Toronto

After the Data on Purpose / Do Good Data conference at Stanford, the Digital Civil Society Lab kicked off a yearlong series of convenings around the globe to learn from civil society leaders creating social impact in the digital age. Toronto was our first stop, where we partnered with Powered By Data, the Ontario Trillium […]

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That’s Not Privacy: An update

This month I checked back in with Micah Sifry to learn about the status of the That’s Not Privacy campaign, which MFG covered in May. Here’s what I learned (the following is an edited version of an email exchange): Micah, it has been about six months since the campaign launched. How is the That’s Not Privacy campaign going? […]

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Resources for Responsible Data Use in Humanitarian Action

Humanitarian aid and disaster response groups are regularly faced with the promise and peril of digital data and infrastructure. The opportunities to use real time satellite imagery, to improve communications in dangerous situations, and to experiment with social media feeds for information on the fly are tempting. At the same time, the ethical demands to […]

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Locking the Web Open

  On June 8 in San Francisco, passionate data geeks and web users like you and me are invited to help design the World Wide Web for the future. The “Locking the Web Open” summit taking place at the Internet Archive is open to activists, citizens, techies, thinkers, designers, and all those committed to participating […]

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Civic Crowdsourcing 101

  Democracy, Institutional Design, and Technologies of Expertise   “Algorithms used to be what made computers run faster. Now they create social and economic systems.” Ashish Goel, Stanford University     Digital platforms to solicit input, sort ideas, rank opinions, find patterns, and “matchmake” skills are proliferating. When applied to democratic institutions, these tools are […]

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The New Social Calculus – minimize risk and maximize gain

  For a long time, nonprofits and foundations have been seeking to improve outcomes. Getting there requires all kinds of new measurement schemes, thus the last two decades have brought us talk of social return on investment, quality-adjusted life years, and many other calculations.   I think it’s time we recognize we’re operating with a […]

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A new collaboration is set to help nonprofits and foundations co-create and share practices for implementing digital data for good.

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#GivingTuesday: Making the most of the digital data

In part two of a two-part series, Lucy Bernholz shares her thoughts on #GivingTuesday, data, and giving in the digital age.

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