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Femida Handy

Femida Handy, PhD

  • Professor
  • Research Interests

    Volunteering: Who is a volunteer, costs and benefits of volunteering, sports volunteering, informal and formal volunteering, episodic volunteering

    Volunteering and health: Volunteering as an intervention to enhance social functioning in young adults with autism spectrum disorder, health benefits of volunteering in older adults, retirement from volunteering in aging adults

    Global philanthropy: Institutional structures enabling philanthropic giving in the global context development and validation of the Motives to Donate scale, professionalization of fundraising

    Corporate social responsibility: Corporate Philanthropy, employee volunteering, public perception of CSR, attractiveness of CSR for job-seekers

    Environmental habitus: Intergenerational transmission of environmental behaviors and attitudes

    Femida Handy is Professor of Social Policy at the School of Social Policy and Practice at the University of Pennsylvania and the Director of the PhD program. Her research and teaching focus on the economics of the nonprofit sector, volunteering, philanthropy, nonprofit management, environmental issues entrepreneurship, and microfinance.

    Dr. Handy served as the Editor-in-Chief of Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly from 2010-2016, the premier journal in the field, and serves on the editorial board of several academic journals. Professor Handy has published widely in a variety scientific journals on a variety of nonprofit-related topics, and her work has garnered many awards. Her most recent co-authored book is Ethical–decision making for social impact and examines the ethical dilemmas arising in nonprofits One area of prominence is her scholarship on volunteering and philanthropy, in an international context. Her recent co-authored books on philanthropy are The Practice and Promise of Philanthropy in India (2016) and as well the award-winning book, The Palgrave Research Companion to Global Philanthropy (2015), which she co-edited. She has also written on environmental issues, including a children’s book that introduces the concept of ecological footprint.

    Professor Handy‘s research projects include a BSF funded grant on intergenerational transmission of environmental motives and behaviors in a cross country comparison (US, Israel and Korea), a NIH funded research that investigates if and how autistic youth benefit by volunteering, social innovations in nonprofits, volunteering in sports organizations, if and how recent immigrants benefit by volunteering, and health wellbeing benefits of volunteering as well as examining  what happens to those who must retire out of volunteering

    Before coming to Penn, Professor Handy was an Associate Professor at the Faculty of Environmental Studies at York University in Toronto, Canada where she currently holds the position of Senior Scholar.



    office: 215.573.2660

    fax: 215.573.2099



    3701 Locust Walk, Caster Building
    Philadelphia, PA 19104-6214



    Standing Faculty | Faculty


    MSW | NPL

    Research Areas(s)

    Economic Security | Health Equity, Mental Health, Aging | Social Innovation, Philanthropy, Nonprofit Management

    Related Links


    Curriculum Vitae >

    Generosity Trends and Impact >