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.


  • 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” […]

  • Talking about inequality

    Inequality and poverty are topics of great interest to philanthropists and charities—which made this week’s news especially interesting to them because two very different speeches about income inequality made media splashes. The first speech was delivered by Fed chairman Janet Yellen, who spoke at the Boston Fed about inequality and opportunity—a very unusual topic for […]

  • A cup of coffee and a sense of place

    A really great local coffee shop is a place where you can find out what’s happening around town over your cup of coffee. But in Edmonton, Alberta, Edmontonians can now get a flavor of their hometown on their cup of coffee: local coffee shops are dispensing coffee sleeves with very short stories by six local […]

  • Philanthropy and the feeling of abundance

    “Mom, can I go on the field trip? It costs ten dollars,” our daughter asked while I was making dinner last week. “Of course,” I said, without paying much attention. “Just remind me after dinner and I’ll sign the form and write a check.” “Really, I can go?” she queried. “It’s ten dollars, and we’re […]

  • Alibaba: “Open sesame” to a culture of philanthropy in China?

    Bigger than Amazon and eBay combined! That fact that Alibaba, the Chinese e-commerce website, is a bigger business than Amazon and eBay combined was the detail that caught my attention in the stories about its successful IPO last week. Amazon and eBay are huge businesses, relying on households like ours who make most purchases online. […]

  • Cleaning house and the NFL

    The NFL is a tax-exempt nonprofit? That’s what many people might have been surprised to learn when reading this week’s news that federal legislation is being introduced to strip the NFL of its tax-exempt status if it doesn’t successfully pressure Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder to change the Redskins name. What? The NFL that puts […]

  • More ways to give? Alas, not all to the good

    More ways to give, all to the good, right? Not so fast, argues philanthropist Lewis Cullman, who, together with his late wife Dorothy Cullman, gave away hundreds of millions of dollars. Cullman complains about “Misuse of Philanthropy” as he examines a newly popular vehicle for charitable giving: donor-advised funds. Donor-advised funds (or “DAFs”) can be […]

  • Higher-education philanthropy: Why not apprenticeships?

    Philanthropic support of higher education has not only rebounded to pre-recession levels but has, in fact, reached record levels of $31 billion in 2013. These record levels of spending are being achieved even at a time when many have concerns about the direction colleges and universities are taking—concerns such as those raised this week by […]

  • The ice bucket challenge: Hot stuff for philanthropy?

    Unless you’ve been entirely on vacation, you’ve heard about the “ice bucket challenge,” which has raised $88.5 million in the last two months for the ALS Association, dwarfing the $2.6 million received in the same period in 2013. The ALS Association was nimble enough to strike while the iron was hot as the ice bucket […]

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