William Schambra

William A. Schambra

William A. Schambra is the director of the Hudson Institute's Bradley Center for Philanthropy and Civic Renewal. Prior to joining the Hudson Institute in January of 2003, Schambra was director of programs at the Bradley Foundation in Milwaukee. Before joining Bradley in 1992, Schambra served as a senior advisor and chief speechwriter for Attorney General Edwin Meese III, Director of the Office of Personnel Management Constance Horner, and Secretary of Health and Human Services Louis Sullivan. He was also director of Social Policy Programs for the American Enterprise Institute, and co-director of AEI's "A Decade of Study of the Constitution."

From 1984 to 1990 Schambra served as a member of the National Historical Publications and Records Commission, to which he was appointed by President Reagan (via williams). From 2003 to 2006 he served on the board of directors of the Corporation for National and Community Service.

Schambra has written extensively on the Constitution, the theory and practice of civic revitalization, and civil society in The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Times, Policy Review, Christian Science Monitor, Nonprofit Quarterly, Philanthropy, The Chronicle of Philanthropy, and Crisis. He is the editor of several volumes, including As Far as Republican Principles Will Admit: Collected Essays of Martin Diamond.

Read all posts published by William Schambra.


  • The coming showdown between philanthrolocalism and effective altruism

    A showdown is coming for those of us who argue that charitable giving should attend first to our own community. We face the challenge of a new movement called “effective altruism” – a radical utilitarian approach to giving that might best be described as “strategic philanthropy on steroids.” In this view, localism is not just […]

  • A return to “thousand points of light”?

    There have been two interesting developments over the past month for the civic renewal or “small community” agenda.  One is retrospective and a bit discouraging; the other is prospective and quite encouraging. There are important lessons for the latter embedded in the former. The moment of retrospection came with the celebration of the 5,000th Daily […]

  • Foundations and the social contract

    The mention of the term “social contract” in the panel description — unhappily for you all — sent me rooting through some musty old tomes from my graduate courses in political theory, which I took at Northern Illinois University, the Harvard of DeKalb County, just 50 miles west of this hotel. We tend to throw […]

  • Robert Nisbet and our continuing quest for community

    Last week, Bob Woodson of the Center for Neighborhood Enterprise took a group of conservatives to visit one of the grassroots groups he works with in Anacostia, a particularly tough part of DC just a few miles from here. House of Help/City of Hope, as the group is called, had been founded in 1995 by […]

  • In the fight over big vs. small government, philanthropy has forgotten the poor

    Philanthropy’s standing with the policy makers in Washington, D.C., has reached an all-time low. A prime reason foundations have earned that status is that they have lost sight of their primary obligation to support the poor. Philanthropy, for instance, regards the charitable tax deduction as the sine qua non of its work. And yet President […]

  • Faith-based initiatives: The Founders’ intent

    As conservatism begins to wrestle with the problem of attracting non-traditional groups to its banner in the wake of the elections of 2012, it should take a second look at President George W. Bush’s faith-based initiatives program. In recent years, our last Republican president’s “compassionate conservatism” has been in bad odor, dismissed as just a […]

  • June’s elections offer a warning shot for progressive nonprofits

    When Wisconsin’s governor Scott Walker turned back the effort to recall him by winning 53 percent of the vote this month, his victory did more than ensure that the state’s cutbacks in government-worker wages, benefits, and collective-bargaining rights would remain in place. It also dashed the hopes of progressives who had come to believe that […]

  • Conservative philanthropy and the larger view

    With the recent passing of Hilton Kramer, co-founder of The New Criterion, it is worth recalling the role conservative philanthropy played in the establishment of that influential journal of criticism in the arts and culture. And it gives rise to a question: would conservative foundations be interested in such a project today? The New Criterion, […]

  • Philanthropy’s responsibility to democracy

    My marching orders from the conference organizers went something like this: be provocative, but try not to be offensive. I’ll certainly aim for the former, but I suspect, for some of you, I’m going to be the latter, and for that I apologize in advance. Your conference theme for this year is, I see, “The […]

  • James Q. Wilson and “broken windows” philanthropy

    “We have to do more than offer Band-Aids and, ideally, work on more than symptoms. We aim to identify underlying causes, because attacking them is the only way that finite resources can make a difference.” So wrote Pew Charitable Trusts president Rebecca Rimel in 1999, echoing John D. Rockefeller’s exhortation from almost a century earlier […]

(c) All rights reserved, American Philanthropic 2016