David Suárez

Associate Professor;
Colleen Willoughby Endowed Faculty Fellow in Philanthropy & Civil Society

David Suárez, Ph.D., is an associate professor at the Evans School of Public Policy & Governance, University of Washington. His current research focuses on social sector organizations (nonprofits and foundations) and explores: how management strategy shapes organizational performance; the relationship between service-provision and social change activity; and the consequences of professionalization. He is particularly interested in cross-sector collaboration, advocacy, and civic engagement—issues that link social sector organizations to public agencies and the policy process. Ongoing projects include research on: the emergence and development of participatory grantmaking in foundations; the Civic Life of Cities – a multi-team project exploring how nonprofits contribute to the communities they serve; public-nonprofit partnerships in national parks and schools; monitoring and evaluation (M&E) practices in development NGOs; and the role of foundations in generating social change.

His research has been supported by the Ford Foundation, the Spencer Foundation, the Aspen Institute, the Nonprofit Academic Centers Council, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. His work has been published in the Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory, the American Review of Public Administration, Administration & Society, Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, Voluntas, Sociology of Education, and many additional outlets. He teaches courses on public management, organizational theory, philanthropy, and leadership in the nonprofit sector. Prior to pursuing a career in academia, David worked briefly as an elementary school teacher for dual language learners in California (Spanish-English) and served as a Peace Corps volunteer in the Dominican Republic.

  • Jennifer Mosley, David Suárez, and Hokyu Hwang. 2023. “Conceptualizing Organizational Advocacy Across the Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector: Goals, Tactics and Motivation.”  Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly. https://doi.org/10.1177/08997640221103247.

  • David Suárez and Gowun Park. 2022. “Resilient But Frayed: The Civic Threads of the Puget Sound Nonprofit Sector.” Global Perspectives 3(1): 36342. https://doi.org/10.1525/gp.2022.36342.

  • Christof Brandtner and David Suárez. 2021. “The Structure of City Action: Institutional Embeddedness and Sustainability Practices in U.S. Cities.” American Review of Public Administration 51(2): 121-138.

  • Emily Finchum-Mason, Kelly Husted, and David Suárez. 2020. “Philanthropic Foundation Responses to the COVID-19 Crisis.” Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly 49(6): 1129-1141.

  • David Suárez and Hokyu Hwang. 2020. “Collaborations and Networks.” In Helmut Anheier and Stefan Toepler (Eds.), Routledge Companion to Nonprofit Management (pp. 317-334). Routledge.

  • David Suárez. 2020. “Advocacy, Civic Engagement, and Social Change.” In Walter W. Powell and Patricia Bromley, eds., The Nonprofit Sector: A Research Handbook, 3d. Ed. Yale: Yale University Press.

  • David Suárez and Hokyu Hwang. 2020. “Collaborations and Networks.” In Helmut Anheier and Stefan Toepler, eds., Routledge Companion to Nonprofit Management. New York: Routledge.

  • Hokyu Hwang and David Suárez. 2019. “Beyond Service Provision: Advocacy and the Construction of Nonprofits as Organizational Actors.” In Hokyu Hwang, Jeannette Colyvas, and Gili Drori, eds., Agents, Actors, Actorhood: Institutional Perspectives on the Nature of Agency, Action, and Authority (Research in the Sociology of Organizations, Volume 58) (pp. 87-109). London: Emerald.

  • David Suárez, Kelly Husted, and Andreu Casas. 2018. “Community Foundations as Advocates: Social Change Discourse in the Philanthropic Sector.” Interest Groups & Advocacy 7(3): 206-232.


  • Associate Editor, Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory (JPART) (2019-)
  • Governing Board, Association for Research on Nonprofits and Voluntary Action (ARNOVA) (2013-2019)
  • Editorial Board, Public Administration Review (2013-2018), Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly (2020-)

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