Conversations On Philanthropy
Emerging Questions on Liberality and Social Thought


ROBERT E. ATKINSON, JR. (ROB) is a native of Kingstree, South Carolina, and a graduate of Washington and Lee University (History and Philosophy, 1979).  After receiving his law degree (Yale 1982), he clerked for Judge Donald Stuart Russell of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.  He practiced estate planning and nonprofit organizations law with Sutherland, Asbill & Brennan’s Washington, D.C., office before joining the faculty at the Florida State University College of Law, where he has taught property, professional responsibility, law and literature, and nonprofit organizations, and where he writes and lectures on philanthropy and on the legal profession.

TODD BREYFOGLE is Director of Seminars for the Aspen Institute. He earned a BA in Classics-History-Politics from Colorado College before attending Corpus Christi College, Oxford (as a Rhodes Scholar), where he read Ancient and Modern History (BA) and Patristic and Modern Theology (MSt). He earned his PhD as a Century Fellow and Javits Fellow at the University of Chicago’s Committee on Social Thought. He is the editor of Literary Imagination, Ancient and Modern: Essays in Honor of David Grene (University of Chicago Press, 1999), and has authored articles ranging from Augustine to J. S. Bach to contemporary political theory. Before joining the Aspen Institute, he directed the Honors Program at the University of Denver. He has lectured at universities in the US, Canada, the UK, and India, including Oxford, Cambridge, Princeton, Dartmouth, and the University of Chicago. He serves on several non-profit boards and is a Senator of the Phi Beta Kappa Society.

ILARIA ANNA COLUSSI is a PhD Candidate in Public Law at the Doctoral School of Comparative and European Legal Studies, University of Trento (Italy). She also collaborates with the European Centre for Law, Science and New Technologies (Pavia) and is a member of the project “Biolaw” within the Department of Legal Science of the University of Trento. Her main research interests concern the legal aspects of synthetic biology, the relationship between genetics and the law, with a specific attention to biobanks and forensic DNA databanks. She has published several articles in Italian Law journals and chapters within books (such as “Biotech Innovations and Fundamental Rights,” published by Springer, 2012). Moreover, she has participated, as a speaker, at conferences and seminars all over the world. She has recently carried out research periods at the Oxford Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics (Oxford, UK) and at the Inter-University Chair in Law and the Human Genome, University of Deusto (Bilbao, Spain).

 WILLIAM DENNIS, now an independent consultant in philanthropy in McLean, Virginia, has spent most of his career working at nonprofit tax-exempt institutions. He has also gifted conservation easements on family property to a nonprofit organization.

 STEVEN GROSBY is professor of religion at Clemson University. His recent books include Nationalism: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford, 2005) and, as editor, Edward Shils, A Fragment of a Sociological Autobiography (Transaction, 2006). He is also a contributing editor to Conversations on Philanthropy.

 DAVID F. HARDWICK is Professor Emeritus, Pathology and Pediatrics at The University of British Columbia; the Secretary of the International Academy of Pathology and Associate Editor of Modern Pathology. He currently serves on the Board of Governors of British Columbia Children’s Hospital Foundation and has been intimately involved in the interrelationship of Government and the British Columbia Children’s Foundation in the creation of new Children’s Hospital facilities. He has published numerous books and papers on organizational and administrative systems the latest being a series of papers (co-authored with Leslie Marsh) on the relationship between the market and science, notably “Science, the Market and Iterative Knowledge“ (Studies in Emergent Order, Vol. 5, 2012) and "Clash of the Titans: When The Market and Science Collide" (in press, Advances in Austrian Economics, Vol. 17, Emerald).

 RICHARD HELMHOLZ is Ruth Wyatt Rosenson Distinguished Service Professor in the Law School of the University of Chicago.  A legal historian, he has specialized in the study of Roman and canon laws.  His principal contribution has been to show their relevance to the development of the Anglo-American common law.  Among his publications on the subject, the two most recent are Volume One of the Oxford History of the Laws of England: The Canon Law and Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction from 597 to the 1640s (2004), and Three Civilian Notebooks, 1580-1640 (Selden Society 2010).

 JOSEPH ISAAC LIFSHITZ is a Senior Fellow in the Department of Philosophy, Political Theory, and Religion. He received his PhD in Jewish Thought from Tel Aviv University. In his study of Jewish philosophy and history, his main focus is on the philosophy and history of Ashkenaz in the high Middle-Ages. His book Judaism, Law and the Free Market, was published by Acton Institute on May, 2012.

 LESLIE MARSH is a Research Associate in the Dean’s Office (Medical School) at The University of British Columbia and was previously Assistant Director of The New England Institute for Cognitive Science and Evolutionary Studies. His work is primarily located at the interface of mind, sociality and liberality with an active interest in the philanthropic world. He is the founder of the journal EPISTEME: Journal of Individual and Social Epistemology (Cambridge); is currently working on a monograph Stigmergic Cognition: Socializing Cognition and “Cognitivizing” Sociality (Springer); is the co-editor of A Companion to Michael Oakeshott (forthcoming, Penn State); and is the editor of Hayek in Mind: Hayek's Philosophical Psychology.

 ADAM MARTIN is a lecturer in political economy at King’s College, London. After receiving his PhD in Economics from George Mason University in 2009, he was a post-doctoral fellow at the Development Research Institute at New York University. He can be reached at [email protected] and more information can be found on his website,

 GEORGE McCULLY served for twenty years as professor of European intellectual and cultural history, from the Renaissance to the Enlightenment, and for twenty-five years as a professional philanthropist—fundraiser, strategic planner, executive director, trustee, and advisor to charities, foundations, families and individual donors. In 1997 he created the highly respected and influential Massachusetts Catalogue for Philanthropy, to promote charitable giving and strengthen the culture of philanthropy through donor education. His book, Philanthropy Reconsidered (2008), presents a comprehensive overview of the "vocabulary, conceptualization, and rhetoric" of philanthropy from the ancient coinage of the term in Prometheus Bound, to its essential role informing the American Revolution and Constitution, to the paradigm-shift transforming philanthropy today. His latest work is the Massachusetts Philanthropic Directory—an on-line, systematically taxonomized, analytical directory to all the philanthropic charities of (initially) Massachusetts, which comprise only 1/7th of the state's "nonprofits."  This dramatically innovative Directory system will be extended nationwide over the next two years. He is also a contributing editor to Conversations on Philanthropy.

JOHN E. MURRAY is Joseph R. Hyde III Professor of Political Economy at Rhodes College in Memphis, Tennessee. He has written on public and private approaches to poverty, poor relief, and income maintenance in a variety of places and times. His books include Origins of American Health Insurance (Yale University Press, 2007), Children Bound to Labor (Cornell University Press, 2009), and The Charleston Orphan House (University of Chicago Press, 2013).

 ROBIN ROGERS is an associate professor of sociology at the City University of New York and has served as a Congressional fellow on public policy.

 JOHN T. THOMAS, Esq., J.D. Vanderbilt University School of Law, 1990, is health care executive and a tax lawyer by training and practice. He has served as in-house counsel to both the Sisters of Mercy Health System and Baylor Health Care System and has represented other nonprofit health care organizations. While serving as general counsel for Baylor, he testified before the U.S. House of Representatives Ways and Means Committee on May 23, 2005, about the structure of the Texas charity care law and the differences between nonprofit hospitals and taxable hospitals in their service to the community.

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