About the Center

The Center for Civil Society is built on the belief that if America’s voluntary organizations can more fully realize their visions, American civil society and democracy will become healthier—and American individuals and communities will flourish more fully.

Our Mission

The Center for Civil Society (C4CS) strengthens America’s voluntary associations by improving the effectiveness of donors, charitable foundations, and nonprofit organizations. The center fulfills its mission through education, research, publications, webinars, master classes, and in-person events. These resources offer practical advice, ideas, training, and tools that help civil society leaders achieve their missions.

Our Staff

Joe Garecht


Cailtin Nocera

Director of Events

Austin Detwiler


Lorna Bernhoft

Managing Editor

Jeremy Beer

Senior Fellow & Host of GDT Podcast

Jack Fowler

Senior Fellow

Doug Schneider

Senior Fellow

Subscribe To Civil Thoughts

Each week, into the ether Civil Thoughts is projected, intent on sharing a smart gathering of a dozen or so pieces and essays and articles that touch on various facets of our civil society and the givers, doers, and thinkers doing some heavy lifting in that arena. They’re nothing more than recommendations, but of pieces and essays and articles (one or two, a few, maybe most, possibly even all) that may prove of keen interest, and that will stimulate your thinking.

No asks, no tasks. No quizzes!

— Jack Fowler

K to Campus: a Givers, Doers, & Thinkers Conference

The 2024 Annual Conference for Givers, Doers, and Thinkers will take place in Malibu, California, on the campus of Pepperdine University. The conference is the fourth in a series of events that will bring donors and civil society leaders together to discuss and develop ways to strengthen American civil society. The purpose of this conference series is to advance a robust vision for charitable giving that is grounded in the Judeo-Christian understanding of charity, to champion local giving, and to share ideas on how to conserve the natural and cultural goods of our communities and our nation.

Givers, Doers, & Thinkers Podcast

Givers, Doers, and Thinkers (GDT) introduces listeners to the fascinating people and important ideas at the heart of Americal civil society. We speak with philanthropists, foundation leaders, reformers, social entrepreneurs, nonprofit executives, religious believers, historians, sociologists, philosophers, journalists, and anyone else who will help us understand contemporary civil society’s achievements and failures. We also sprinkle in practical advice for nonprofit leaders and fundraisers. This is the podcast for anyone interested in that vital space where philanthropy and civil society intersect.

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