This issue touches on three fundamental areas of nonprofit-related public policy: the regulation of philanthropy, nonprofit advocacy, and the building of social capital. The first paper by Oonagh Breen is somewhat unusual in its methodology. It examines the body of work by Evelyn Brody, a distinguished legal scholar of charity law in the U.S. and its potential lessons for regulating charity in the European Union. Breen identifies lessons and insights in the three main areas of Brody’s research – tax treatment, governance, and mechanisms of monitoring and enforcement.
The second paper by Ying Li and Zhijun Lin moves our attention around the globe to China where they examine the question of whether donations to Chinese foundations are sensitive to information disclosure. Analyzing a unique data set from the Chinese Foundation Center, the authors answer this question affirmatively, leading them to call for additional mandatory disclosure requirements.
The third paper by Meeyoung Lamothe and Vicki Lavastida is very timely, as the publication of this issue almost coincides with the U.S. 2020 presidential election. I write this before knowing the results, but the findings will be relevant whatever the election outcome. The authors found that the election of Donald Trump in 2016 boosted sustained support for nonprofit advocacy organizations in the U.S. state of Oklahoma, in the form of donations, volunteers and memberships. In the present era of highly partisan politics, it seems likely that the losing side will again be energized following the 2020 election, although not perhaps to the degree caused by the shock of 2016.
The fourth paper by Tania Haddad takes us to the Middle East where she examines the history of religious welfare organizations (RWOs) in Lebanon. Given the state’s paralysis as a result of regional and political conflicts, RWOs have become the main providers of social services in that country, able to respond to diverse local needs. However, this development has undermined the building of social capital by reinforcing social fragmentation and diminishing the idea of citizenship.
The fifth paper by Polina Ivanova provides another angle on policy and social capital. She examines the experience of international students in civil society groups in Japan, identifying how nonprofits can facilitate social capital generation at the national and international levels.
This issue concludes with a review by Myles McGregor-Lowndes of a new book, The Law of Charities in Ireland by Oonagh Breen and Philip Smith (This is surely the first time that one of our authors, Oonagh Breen, literally “bookends” one of our issues!). The book is a handbook structured around the legal life cycle of a charity in Ireland, an innovative way of synthesizing current knowledge and indeed facilitating comparisons to other jurisdictions such as the U.K.
Please enjoy reading this issue and stay safe in these perilous and changing times.
© 2020 Dennis R. Young, published by De Gruyter
This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.