Advisor: Dr. Chao Guo
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.”