Matthew Gerken

Matthew Gerken

Matthew Gerken joined American Philanthropic after serving as a program officer at the Intercollegiate Studies Institute, where he organized the Institute’s first-ever collegiate debating symposium. He studied intellectual history as an undergraduate at Yale, and has experience in education, event planning, and foundation research. An Illinois native, Matt lives in the Chicago area with his wife and sons.


root causes, history, historian
The root causes of problematic giving

So much philanthropic giving is concerned with identifying and tackling “root causes.” And yet, few people know the history of this effort—or its resounding failure over time.

planned-giving inquiry, planned-gift inquiries
20 minute-fundraising fix: surprise planned-giving inquiry

Millions of Americans are updating their wills and estate plans. Here’s a 20-minute fix for you to update your response to planned-giving inquiries.


random samples, random sampling
Random samples—what to do when yours aren’t: data analysis, part three

Random sampling is hard to achieve in human studies. That doesn’t make it useless, but does affect its utility The third in a three-part series on how nonprofits can use data to aid their fundraising

data, data analysis
Data the backseat driver: data analysis, part two

Data is a backseat driver, and good leaders often have to act with too little data. The second in a three-part series on how nonprofits can use data to aid their fundraising


data analysis
Data as a philosophical field: data analysis, part one

Data is not self-interpreting. The first in a three-part series on how nonprofits can use data to aid their fundraising.

Charity, rich and poor: an interview with Benjamin Priday

Benjamin Priday, a doctoral candidate in economics at Texas A&M, researches charitable giving an economics. We reached out to learn more about his work.


foundations grantee-friendly pro-grantee
The pro-grantee revolution: day two

So much grantmaking is hindered by unnecessary bureaucracy. Here are four ways for foundations to cut out the fat and make their grantmaking efficient—and grantee-friendly.

pro-grantee grantee-friendly foundations
Foundations should embrace the pro-grantee revolution

The pandemic has encouraged foundations to adopt new “grantee-friendly” processes. These should stick around after the pandemic. The first in a two-part series.


relief act cares tax
Top 5 changes for nonprofits from the COVID legislation

In light of the economic impact of the coronavirus, the U.S. Senate just passed a $2 trillion relief act. Here are the five items that affect nonprofits.

stock market diversity of donors
Market turmoil underlines the importance of small donors & diversified support

The current economic downturn leaves many organizations exposed to market volatility. How should you prepare—or have prepared—for a bear market?