Jacqueline Pfeffer Merrill

Jacqueline Pfeffer Merrill

Jacqueline Pfeffer Merrill is a program officer at the American Council of Trustees and Alumni. She has been an adviser to Washington think tanks and educational nonprofit organizations. Prior to her work in the nonprofit sector, Jacqueline served on the faculties of St. John's College and the College of William & Mary. She has published articles about political philosophy, social issues, and bioethics in journals such as The New Atlantis, Society, and Philanthropy.

Jacqueline earned her M.A. and Ph.D. in political science from Duke University and her B.A., also in political science, from The University of Calgary.

Jacqueline is a board member for the Maryland Correctional Institution for Women College Program Foundation, and she has taught in the college program at Maryland's only prison for women. She lives with her husband and their children in Silver Spring, Maryland.

Read all posts published by Jacqueline Pfeffer Merrill.


  • This invitation is not for sale!

    The Memorial Day weekend is nearly upon us… and, with it, some of the first summer gatherings. Many of the invitations to this year’s Memorial Day barbeques will have been made in a way no one had heard of just a few years ago—“e-invitations” sent over the internet. In the last few months, I’ve sent […]

  • A neuroscience of philanthropy?

    Why do you give—is it generosity? Greatness of soul? A response to a call from your faith tradition? Well, there’s an alternative account: neuroscientists might say your generosity is simply hard-wired in your brain—hard wired to the extent that generosity is not truly a choice, not a virtue, but simply follows from your brain chemistry. […]

  • Baltimore and life “On the Run”

    Events in the aftermath of Freddie Gray’s death in Baltimore police custody have intensified the national focus on relations between police and African Americans. Like so many, I’ve been wondering about these issues, but the events in Baltimore brought them home to me all the more, as I serve on the board of a nonprofit […]

  • Money isn’t everything…even for philanthropy

    Is the quintessential philanthropist the one who gives away the most money? New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof implicitly raises this question in his latest column that features a young financier who gives away roughly half his income—in his case, that’s more than $100,000—to philanthropies. This young fellow—aptly named, given the interest in what he […]

  • Social science and motherhood

    Social “scientists” are sometimes mocked for producing results that are so obvious that it’s hard to imagine why someone bothered to investigate them. I’m sure you know that more experienced people tend to make better decisions, shoppers buy more when prices go down, and that people prefer an attractive date to one who’s not-so-good-looking. But […]

  • Help in the neighborhood for “Our Kids”?

    Harvard political scientist Robert D. Putnam was elevated to the status of leading public intellectual by his 2000 book Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community. He has just brought out a new book, Our Kids: The American Dream in Crisis. Our Kids is sure to receive much attention—indeed, the conversational tone of […]

  • The decline of income mobility—and true philanthropy?

    America has long been characterized by the hopeful prospect of the chance to better one’s station in life. But that cheery prospect of “income mobility,” to use the public policy term of art, has been tarnished over the last decades and especially since the Great Recession—and that may be tarnishing the prospect of true philanthropy […]

  • The Star Trek moral moment

    The death of Leonard Nimoy—Mr. Spock—was widely noticed and discussed—even President Obama issued a statement on Nimoy’s death and the character of Mr. Spock. What was it that people were remembering, and why is Star Trek such enduring phenomenon? Star Trek has endured much longer than other TV shows that seemed to capture a particular […]

  • Philanthrolocalism gets messy…

    Philanthropy Daily regularly features “philanthrolocalism”—philanthropy directed to the donor’s local community. Philanthrolocalism has the warm glow of local folk helping their neighbors, doing good in their own community to satisfy needs they understand. Or not. Neighbors can pull together to accomplish something great for the community—or they might just disagree very, very sharply about what’s […]

  • On this Valentine’s Day, a reflection on marriage and civil society

    The old song goes, “Love and marriage go together like a horse and carriage.” Well, nowadays, it’s no longer the case that love and marriage go together. This Valentine’s Day, fewer Americans than at any point in the last century will be celebrating the day with a spouse: according to a recent Pew Research Center […]

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