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Nathan Dietz

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Associate Research Professor; Research Director, DGI; Director, Do Good Lab

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

Dietz is the author or coauthor of all Institute research publications, and serves as the principal investigator for a research project sponsored by the Generosity Commission. His recent peer-reviewed publications include articles in Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, the American Journal of Community Psychology, and Nonprofit Policy Forum. Dietz has taught State, Local and Nonprofit Financial Management (PLCY 688F) since 2018, and serves as the chair of the School of Public Policy’s Faculty Diversity Committee.

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 served as principal investigator for several research and evaluation projects, including four evaluations of AmeriCorps grantees; 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 led the its 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; now called AmeriCorps), serving from 2011-2012 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, and producing research reports and studies using the data.

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 Ph.D. in political science from the University of Rochester and earned a bachelor’s degree with dual-major in political science and mathematical methods in social sciences from Northwestern University.


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