Bradley Center for Philanthropy & Civic Renewal

Bradley Center for Philanthropy & Civic Renewal

Hudson’s Bradley Center for Philanthropy & Civil Renewal aimed to encourage foundations and charitable donors to direct more resources toward support of small, local, often faith-based grassroots associations that are the heart of a vital civil society. In its research, writing, and monthly seminars, the Center critically examined the current giving practices of American foundations, which tend to be directed toward large, expert-driven projects that often undercut, rather than support, small civic associations. It aimed to provoke conversation about the most important — and seldom discussed — issues before the nonprofit sector. It also provided practical advice and counsel to funders who are interested in designing grant-making programs that support civic renewal.

Directed by Hudson senior fellow William A. Schambra since its founding in 2003, the Center was named both for its longtime principal donor, the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, and also for the National Commission on Philanthropy and Civic Renewal of 1996-97 — whose groundbreaking final report, Giving Better, Giving Smarter, inspired the Center’s inaugural conference in May 2003, “Giving Better, Giving Smarter, Six Years Later,” and informed and inspired its mission until shuttering its doors in December 2014.

Hudson’s Bradley Center is the only place in which more light than heat gets generated on subjects that truly matter to the future of our field.
— Joel Orosz, advisor, Kellogg Foundation

The Bradley Center is one of the very few places in philanthropy, on the right or the left, where there is a genuine debate and discussion that is ideologically diverse, and where people actually kick around in serious ways important societal questions and questions about philanthropy.
— Gara LaMarche, former president, The Atlantic Philanthropies

The Bradley Center at Hudson has been, more than any other philanthropic institution I know, a place where the Left has constructively met the Right, and where reasoned debate has effectively replaced the Frankenthinking endemic to the nonprofit field. Bill Schambra has eloquently championed a style of philanthropy that focuses on providing general operating support, with a minimum of bureaucratic fuss, to organizations and efforts led by visionary individuals. And while I haven’t always agreed with Schambra, I’ve always benefited from his invitation to step outside the liberal echo chamber of mainstream philanthropy.
— Albert Ruegsa, President and CEO, Greater New Orleans Foundation

The Bradley Center is the most open and best forum on philanthropy I know about and we are all grateful to [Bill Schambra and Hudson] you for doing this.
— Stanley Katz, Professor of Public & Intl. Affairs, Princeton University

Policy Center News

Bill Schambra quoted in The Wall Street Journal and National Review on major donations to public school systems

Bill Schambra quoted in Chronicle of Philanthropy on letting local people determine how to use donated dollars

William Schambra interviewed by Michigan Radio News on pensions and bankruptcy problems in Detroit

Hudson Institute and Public Citizen’s report on non-profits and political activities featured in New York Times, The Hill, and Forbes.

William Schambra’s work at the Bradley Center examined in National Review Online

William Schambra quoted in The Chronicle of Philanthropy on philanthropic giving strategies





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