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Nathan Dietz

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Associate Research Scholar; Senior Researcher, Do Good Institute; Research Director, CivIC

Nathan Dietz, PhD joined the School of Public Policy in March 2017 as an associate research scholar after over twenty years of conducting and managing research projects in government, the nonprofit sector, and academia. His work with the Do Good Institute focuses on social capital, volunteering, charitable contributions, civic engagement and social entrepreneurship.

Dietz is the coauthor of two recent DGI publications: “Where Are America’s Volunteers? A Look at America’s Widespread Decline in Volunteering in Cities and States” and “Good Intentions, Gap in Action: The Challenge of Translating Youth’s High Interest in Doing Good into Civic Engagement.” His other recent publications include articles in peer-reviewed journals such as Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, the American Journal of Community Psychology, and Nonprofit Policy Forum, as well as two recent Spotlight reports published by the Giving Institute, sponsors of the annual Giving USA report on American philanthropy.

Since 2013, he has held an appointment as senior research associate at the Center on Nonprofits and Philanthropy at the Urban Institute. While at Urban, he has served as principal investigator for several research and evaluation projects, including four evaluations of AmeriCorps grantees; has served the Associate Director for the National Center for Charitable Statistics, the national clearinghouse of data on the nonprofit sector in the United States; and has led the Urban Institute’s participation in the (nonprofit) Growth in Giving Initiative and the Fourth Sector Mapping Initiative.

Immediately prior to joining the Urban Institute, Dr. Dietz served as Senior Program Manager at the Partnership for Public Service. In that position, his research focused on the use of administrative data by government agencies; leadership development “pipeline” programs that feed the Senior Executive Service; and federal pay and compensation reform. From 2002 through 2012, he worked at the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) and was serving as associate director for research and evaluation. At CNCS, he worked extensively in strategic planning, performance measurement, grantmaking, procurement and contract management. He also played a major role in designing and implementing national surveys on volunteering and civic engagement, which were implemented as supplements to the Current Population Survey.

Prior to government service, he held an appointment as assistant professor of political science in the School of Public Affairs at American University. He earned a master’s degree and a PhD in political science from the University of Rochester; his doctoral thesis won the fourth annual award for Best Dissertation in the Field of Presidency Research, sponsored by the Center for Presidential Studies at the George Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M University. He graduated cum laude from Northwestern University, with a bachelor’s degree with dual-major in political science and mathematical methods in social sciences.

Areas of Interest
  • Volunteering & civic engagement; charitable contributions & fundraising; nonprofit finance & management; national service & public service; program evaluation