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.


  • Silicon Valley’s philanthropists and the Syrian migrants

    Silicon Valley’s wealthy denizens are among the country’s leading philanthropists. And they have distinctive philanthropic preferences, favoring “metrics-driven” philanthropy that ensures philanthropists achieve the greatest benefit possible for each philanthropic dollar. Sounds great—who doesn’t want the greatest benefit? To have made things better—maybe even “all better”? The desire to make things “all better” has driven […]

  • Less freedom, less philanthropy?

    America’s economy continues to become less free, according to the Fraser Institute’s annual Economic Freedom of the World report, which was released last week. And that has important implications for American philanthropy. When the Fraser Institute, with key input from Nobel laureate Milton Friedman, first published the Economic Freedom of the World index in 1996, […]

  • Understated Philanthropy

    Philanthropists bring many great goods to America—but it also can seem, in some cases, that philanthropists seek to bring attention to themselves as much as to the causes that they support. It’s not just that many philanthropists fund eponymous foundations and put their name on the music halls and college dormitories they fund. Many museums […]

  • Charles Murray’s Lockean philanthropic proposal

    On my very rough analysis, there are two basic types of libertarians. The first type is the Nietzschean type—those whose approach seems to be premised on the thought “I can look after myself so why don’t you do the same.” You knew this type in college—they’re the ones who toted around copies of Beyond Good […]

  • The thorny business of philanthropy for gardens

    The fortunate denizens of Grand Rapids have a wonderful new garden to enjoy: The Richard & Helen DeVos Japanese Garden, which opened this summer as an extension of the Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park. This new garden—underwritten by Amway co-founder Richard DeVos, Sr. and his wife Helen—is the most recent addition to the list […]

  • Smithsonian fundraising enters space age

    The Smithsonian Institution entered the world of space-age fundraising in July as it launched its first “crowdfunded” campaign to raise $500,000 to preserve the spacesuit Neil Armstrong wore when he stepped onto the moon in July 1969. This campaign—with the clever name, “Reboot the Suit”—rocketed past its goal in only five days. It might seem […]

  • Civic engagement by the clock

    Time is precious… and how people spend their time is a good measure of what they value. We have a chance to measure of how much time Americans invest in building civil society with the annual American Time Use Survey; the 2014 findings were released earlier this month. So, what do the just-released 2014 findings […]

  • Wearing their conservative hearts on their sleeves

    Conservatives are often known as a reserved, stiff-upper-lip lot. However, in his just-released book, The Conservative Heart: How to Build a Fairer, Happier, and More Prosperous America, American Enterprise Institute president Arthur C. Brooks argues that conservatives must start wearing their hearts on their sleeves if they are to convince more people—more voters—that conservatives policies […]

  • 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. […]

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