William A. Schambra

William A. Schambra

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.”

A return to “thousand points of light”?

In light of President George H.W. Bush’s life and legacy, we look back with regret at the lost opportunities from the days of a “thousand points of light.” But perhaps we can look forward to better days for the civic renewal agenda.

Foundations and the social contract

Our social contract roots forever privilege the individual, on the one hand, and the state, on the other, which is why institutions in between, like foundations, seem to have a somewhat tenuous legal and constitutional status…

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

The needs of the poor demand that conservative philanthropists challenge their libertarian, free-market allies, while progressives challenge their well-heeled government allies.

Philanthropy’s responsibility to democracy

Democratic self-governance is a rare and precious thing, all too readily surrendered by citizens to professional experts who are all too happy to take charge.

James Q. Wilson and “broken windows” philanthropy

A humble approach to giving in the face of a professional philanthropic discourse that continues to be dominated by grand rhetorical flourishes.