Jacqueline Pfeffer Merrill

Jacqueline Pfeffer Merrill is director of the Campus Free Expression Project at the Bipartisan Policy Center. Earlier in her career, she was Executive Director of the Fund for Academic Renewal, a program of 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, philanthropy, and higher education in journals such as The New Atlantis, Society, and Philanthropy. Jacqueline earned her M.A. and Ph.D. Duke University and her B.A. from the University of Calgary. Jacqueline is a trustee of the American Academy of Liberal Education. She was a trustee and president of Advocates for the Goucher Prison Education Partnership, and she has taught in the college program at Maryland’s only prison for women. She lives with her husband and their children in Takoma Park, Maryland.  Views expressed are her own.

higher education philanthropy and scholarships first-generation students
Want to help first-gen students? Think beyond scholarships

We often operate under the misconception that scholarships are the only—or at least best—way to support first-generation college students. That’s not the case, and there are several alternative ways to support first-gen students instead.

Why some places thrive while others collapse

Reviewing Timothy P. Carney’s “Alienated America.”


Just Justice?

Rob Reich’s book “Just Giving” is thoughtful and serious. But philanthropy has more varied aims than justice, and the pluralism he celebrates can only be fully honored when we allow philanthropists to pursue their own highest ideals.

Charles Dickens and the spirit of the season

Just as Easter is the holiday of music, Christmas is the holiday of literature.


Thanksgiving and the call of home

Thanksgiving is a holiday of homecoming for many Americans, but that homecoming may be fraught or joyous.

The fox guarding higher education’s philanthropic hen house

Too many donors place their trust in university leaders with a preference for unrestricted dollars, who ask donors to invest millions without the benefit of independent advice or oversight.


How to protect your philanthropic legacy

As important as guarding against deviations from donor intent, is finding pathways to fulfill it.

On this Valentine’s Day, a reflection on marriage and civil society

The decline of marriage affects how American civil society holds up.


The complacent class and the future of philanthropy

The upper middle class has become a “complacent class,” of which the defining characteristic is “the lack of a sense of urgency” to achieve something great. How will this affect philanthropy?