Viviana Wu

Viviana Chiu-Sik Wu, LLB, MS

  • Student, PhD in Social Welfare

Cohort: 2016-2017

Advisor: Dr. Chao Guo

Research Interests

Community and Place-based Philanthropy

Strategic Management of Nonprofits and Foundations

Nonprofit Advocacy and Policy Engagement

Computational Methods and Spatial Analysis

Viviana Wu is a third-year doctoral student whose research interests lie at the intersection of nonprofit management, public governance, and social welfare. Following the groundbreaking work of Elinor Ostrom, Viviana’s long-term research goals are to understand how and how well citizens organize to “govern” their communities through resource allocation, advocacy, and mobilization through nonprofit/philanthropic organizations and social media in the digital era.

In her current project, she is examining community philanthropy in the form of community foundations in the U.S. Community philanthropy plays an increasingly important role in improving community wellbeing and facilitating policy engagement at the local level in times of facing deep-seated, complex social problems such as perpetuating income disparity and social injustice. Viviana’s dissertation investigates both the promises and challenges of community philanthropy in driving resource redistribution and community change from the theoretical lens of place (community level), institutional logics (organizational level) and civic engagement (societal level). Her research draws theoretical insights from multiple disciplines and is triangulated by quantitative, qualitative, and computational methods for analyzing unique population-level datasets on community foundations which include their organizational characteristics, social media data, as well as community-level indicators across the United States.

Recently, her work on “The Place Dilemma of Community Foundations: “Equalizing” the Inequality?” won the Best 2017 Conference Paper Award from the Association for Research on Nonprofit Organizations and Voluntary Action (ARNOVA), with Dr. Weiai Xu and Dr. Chao Guo. Besides her research commitments, she also serves as the Managing Editor of Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly (NVSQ) and the Editor for The Fellow, a newsletter for advancing academic and professional goals of doctoral students. Viviana holds an MS in Nonprofit Leadership from Penn and an LLB (Bachelor of Laws) and a BSocSc in Public Administration and Laws from the University of Hong Kong.

Fun facts: Viviana met her (and academic) husband at ARNOVA in 2015, thanks to her advisor and ARNOVA! They raise two guinea pigs together, they are called “Pidan” and “Custard.”

SP2 News

Control Societies speaker series

Faculty & Research

Innovative SP2 Faculty-Founded Speaker Series Awarded Additional Year of Grant Funding

As part of an ongoing University-wide initiative to foster diversity and inclusion, the Excellence Through Diversity Fund, awarded annually by the Provost’s...

Christina Bach on Penn's campus

Faculty & Research, Alumni Stories

Oncology Social Workers: Navigating Health Care and Supporting Families

When Christina Bach tells people what she does for a living, they usually respond with, “Oh, I could never do...

Imrul Mazid

Student Life

Connecting Communities: NPL Student & AMCLI Fellow Reflects on Muslim American Nonprofit Leadership

For Imrul Mazid, a student in the Master of Science in Nonprofit Leadership (NPL) program at Penn’s School of Social...

Catherine Wilsnack and Allison Werner-Lin

Faculty & Research, Alumni Stories

SP2 Alumna Earns National Cancer Institute’s Cancer Research Training Award Fellowship

For the last decade, Allison Werner-Lin, PhD, LCSW, associate professor at Penn’s School of Social Policy & Practice (SP2), has...

Discover More