Michael Moody, Ph.D., is the Frey Foundation Chair for Family Philanthropy at the Dorothy A. Johnson Center for Philanthropy at Grand Valley State University, in Grand Rapids, Michigan. The Frey Foundation Chair is the world’s first-ever endowed chair for family philanthropy, and Dr. Moody became the first holder of the chair in 2010.
As Frey Foundation Chair, Dr. Moody works with a network of partners to pursue a comprehensive, international program of applied research, speaking and writing, professional education and teaching, and other activities designed to expand both the practice and the public understanding of family philanthropy. He serves as an accessible guide to the rapidly evolving and complex world of philanthropy and social innovation, helping diverse audiences see the vital role that giving plays in society and in their own lived experiences.
Dr. Moody is trained as a cultural sociologist and has been actively working to understand and improve philanthropy and nonprofit organizations for over 30 years. He is co-author of the books Understanding Philanthropy: Its Meaning and Mission, The Philanthropy Reader, and Generation Impact: How Next Gen Donors Are Revolutionizing Giving, as well as many other publicationsfor both scholarly and practitioner audiences. His books have won major awards, been produced as audiobooks, and been translated into several languages. Dr. Moody is a frequent speaker at venues across the U.S. and worldwide, and a sought-after commentator on philanthropic trends and research. His work has been featured in the New York Times, Washington Post, Forbes, Chronicle of Philanthropy, Stanford Social Innovation Review, Alliance, and elsewhere.
Dr. Moody earned a bachelor’s in psychology from Indiana University, where he then became one of the first employees of the university’s renowned Center on Philanthropy and helped develop the Jane Addams Fellows Program. He went on to receive a master’s in social science from the University of Chicago and a Ph.D. in sociology from Princeton, with a scholarly focus on philanthropic giving and nonprofit organizations. Prior to becoming the Frey Foundation Chair, Dr. Moody held faculty positions at Boston University and the University of Southern California, and he ran Moody Philanthropic Consulting based in Richmond, Virginia. His writing and speaking focus on topics such as the theory and social role of philanthropy, family foundations, Gen X and Millennial giving, venture philanthropy, ethical challenges in giving, the notion of “giving back,” donor learning, nonprofit advocacy, and many other topics.