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.


  • Churchill, democracy, and civil society

    Friday, January 30 is the fiftieth anniversary of Sir Winston Churchill’s funeral. Footage of ordinary Britons filing past Churchill’s casket and then lining the streets during the funeral procession show a public grieving for a great man. And yet, the same British public had unceremoniously turned Churchill out from office just as soon he had […]

  • The “restlessness of Americans” and civil society

    A generation ago, a regular pleasure of childhood was the chance to explore your neighborhood by yourself or with your buddies. No longer so! It’s so exceptional to let kids wander on their own that a ten-year-old brother and his six-year-old sister walking home from a local park were stopped by police. The local Child […]

  • Restore Thrift Week!

    Thrift is a peculiarly American virtue—or, to be more precise, thinking of thrift as a virtue rather than just a practical necessity is peculiarly American. We can see this in the conspicuous place that Benjamin Franklin assigns to thrift and frugality in the list of thirteen virtues that Franklin commends to his fellow Americans in […]

  • Knock, knock!

    Who’s there? Phil. Phil who? Phil Anthropist! I’ll admit, that’s pretty corny, even by knock-knock joke standards. But, if you believe the recent research of some economists, knocking on doors to raise funds doesn’t always bring out philanthropic impulses. Old-fashioned, low-tech door-to-door fundraising campaigns persist even in an age where all the buzz surrounds fundraising […]

  • Dickens, Christmas, and remembrance

    Charles Dickens’s Christmas tales are so much a part of the season that, hearing the report of Dickens’s sudden death in 1870, a girl is reported to have asked, “Dickens dead? Then will Father Christmas die too?” Most famous of Dickens’s Christmas tales is A Christmas Carol, but Dickens wrote four additional Christmas novellas in […]

  • Camelot and corporate philanthropy

    One of life’s great pleasures is that of visiting used bookstores and the chance to find some gem of a book. Last weekend, I was at a favorite second-hand bookstore and came across Letitia Baldrige’s Complete Guide to Executive Manners. You may be thinking: an etiquette book? That’s a gem? But it happens that I […]

  • Venture philanthropy and a $3.3 billion return for cystic fibrosis

    $3.3 billion—that’s the sum the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation garnered in its recent sale of its royalty rights for a new drug, Kalydeco. Kalydeco is a game-changing drug, the first to address the root cause of cystic fibrosis. But this deal is a game-changer too: it demonstrates that disease-focused nonprofits can make huge returns by investing […]

  • Thanksgiving and the call of home

    Thanksgiving is holiday of homecoming for many Americans, but that homecoming may be fraught or joyous: the home of our childhood can be a place we have fled, or a place to which we return for solace and completion. There are few authors who have written as deeply about the tangled relationships adults can have […]

  • Philanthropists’ deal to salvage Detroit—but with what vision?

     “What’s at stake is nothing less than self-governance.”  That’s what David Simon, creator of the television show The Wire, said in a speech last month when he described the state of American cities: We’re an urban species now . . . the pastoral is now a part of human history. We’re either going to figure […]

  • Books and friendship

    Have you ever had a friendship over a book? That’s a good question, I thought, when I encountered that question in this past weekend’s New York Times Book Review, which included two essay responses to this question. (Of course, since it was the New York Times, it asked not about the end of a “friendship” […]

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