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Stefan Toepler

Professor and Director, Center for Nonprofit Management, Philanthropy, and Policy



5040 Metropolitan Bldg/3434 Wash. Blvd, Arl, MSN: 4D5
Arlington, Virginia 22201



Stefan Toepler (Dr. rer.pol., Free University of Berlin, Germany, 1995) is Associate Professor of Nonprofit Studies in the Schar School of Policy and Government at George Mason University in Virginia, USA. His teaching in this area spans a wide set of topics ranging from general nonprofit management to law and governance and international NGOs. Prior to joining George Mason in 2002, he was on the faculty of the Institute of Policy Studies at Johns Hopkins University, where he coordinated the legal, Central European and Middle Eastern components of the Comparative Nonprofit Sector Project, an effort to chart the size, scope, and structure of the nonprofit sector internationally as well as the institutional factors that shape the evolution of the sector in different parts of the world. 

Dr. Toepler was a doctoral fellow of Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft at the John F. Kennedy Institute for North American Studies at the Free University of Berlin from 1992 to 1995, an International Philanthropy Fellow at Johns Hopkins in 1993/94; and a Fellow in Museum Practice at the Smithsonian Institution in 2004. Currently, he also maintains an affiliation with the International Laboratory of Nonprofit Sector Research at the Higher School of Economics in Moscow, helping to direct research on the implementation of New Governance tools and nonprofit-government relations in the Russian Federation and its regions.

Dr. Toepler’s research interests range from the study of philanthropic foundations and nonprofit management and policy more generally to the roles of NGOs internationally as well arts policy and cultural economics. With over 70 publications in both English and German, his work has appeared in such journals as Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, Nonprofit Management & Leadership, Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, Administration & Society, the International Journal of Public Sector Management, the International Journal of Public Administration, the Journal of Cultural Economics, and Voluntas-International Journal of Voluntary and Nonprofit Organizations. He is the contributing co-editor of Private Funds, Public Purpose: Philanthropic Foundations in International Perspective (New York: Kluwer/Plenum, 1999); Global Civil Society: Dimensions of the Nonprofit Sector (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Center for Civil Society Studies, 1999)—winner of Independent Sector’s 2001 Virginia Hodgkinson Research Prize; The Legitimacy of Philanthropic Foundations: US and European Perspectives (New York: Russell Sage Foundation, 2006). Most recently, he served as editor in chief (with Helmut Anheier) of the International Encyclopedia of Civil Society (Heidelberg, New York: Springer, 2010).

Areas of Research

  • Europe
  • International Development
  • Nonprofit Management
  • Philanthropy
  • Public Administration
  • Nonprofit/Government Relations in Russia
  • Global Civil Society
  • Cultural Policy