William A. Schambra

William A. Schambra

The Giving Review co-editor William A. Schambra is a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute in Washington, D.C. He directed Hudson’s Bradley Center for Philanthropy and Civic Renewal from 2003 to 2014. Prior to joining Hudson in ’03, he was Director of Programs at the The Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation in Milwaukee. At Bradley, among other things, he spearheaded creation in 1997 of the National Commission on Philanthropy and Civic Renewal.

Before joining Bradley in 1992, Schambra was a senior advisor to and speechwriter for U.S. Attorney General Edwin Meese III, U.S. Office of Personnel Management Director Constance Horner, and U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Louis Sullivan. He was also Director of Social Policy Programs for the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) and Co-Director of AEI’s “A Decade of Study of the Constitution.”

From 2003 to 2006, Schambra served on the Board of Directors of the Corporation for National and Community Service. From 1984 to 1990, he served as a member of the National Historical Publications and Records Commission, to which he was appointed by President Ronald Reagan. He holds a Ph.D. in Political Science from Northern Illinois University.

Schambra has written extensively on the Constitution, the theory and practice of civic revitalization, and philanthropy, including in The Wall Street Journal, The Public Interest, Public Opinion, Policy Review, RealClearPolicy, The Christian Science Monitor, Philanthropy, The Chronicle of Philanthropy, Philanthropy Daily, Nonprofit Quarterly, First Things, and Crisis. He has edited several books, including As Far as Republican Principles Will Admit: Collected Essays of Martin Diamond, and is a Philanthropy Daily contributing editor.

The NonProfit Times named Schambra among its 2013 Power & Influence Top 50, complimenting him for “consistently sticking his finger in the eye of the sector’s elite” and raising questions “designed to broaden the idea of philanthropy’s role in America today.” When he retired from running the Bradley Center for Philanthropy and Civic Renewal in 2014, Adam Keiper lauded it in National Review for being “a think tank project like no other, since the subjects it focuses on rarely get the kind of thoughtful intellectual attention that Schambra and his colleagues have devoted to them.” Keiper concluded that “[i]f there is any consolation to be had in the fact that the Bradley Center is winding down its work in the next few months, it is that Bill still has a great deal of youthful vim, and will hopefully now have more time to pick up his pen and write.”


Checking the power of progressive “Big Philanthropy”

Average Americans think that average Americans should fix our country’s problems. But Big Philanthropy has other plans.

Tocqueville, technology, and the Tittabawassee

As shown in and by Sanford, Mich., it’s often when massive devastation is visited on a population that it discovers its true character.


An increasingly hostile atmosphere for endowed institutions

Populist wave of resentment not likely to be turned back by an abstruse discussion of the finer points of tax law.

Remembering Louis Sullivan’s Tuskegee Convocation speech about a “culture of character”

“For the souls that are within us, no one can degrade.”


What would Dean Zerbe’s Grandma do?

An exhortation—and legislation?—about charitable endowments.

Remembering Rick Cohen

His voice should still be heard now.


Philanthropy’s “Call to Action”

At last, our largest foundations may see benefit in foregoing all their restrictions, processes, and expectations—opting instead for trust in grantees.

Katrina, the coronavirus, and the idea of American community (Part 2 of 2): “We take care of our own”

Surveying crisis-caused civic involvement—and appreciating, and supporting, it.


Katrina, the coronavirus, and the idea of American community (Part 1 of 2): How best to meet big challenges, together

Generate the moral energy for a reinvigorated central government, or rely on a bewilderingly diverse and dispersed network of local, decentralized civic institutions?

Understanding philanthropy within the American political order

Progressive philanthropy will be frustrated in its ultimate aim to achieve a fully just and equal society, because it is working against the grain of our order, in pursuit of an abstract, utopian goal.