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.


  • 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” […]

  • 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 […]

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