Stanford PACS aims to improve the body and reach of quality research on philanthropy, civil society, and social innovation.

Stanford PACS encourages interdisciplinary approaches, leveraging the intellectual assets of a diverse, world-class faculty across the University. Below is the list of our active research project and historical research initiatives.

Current Research

Civic Life of Cities Lab

The Civic Life of Cities is a comparative cross-city research project that offers information about the local experiences of global trends influencing the nonprofit sector, so we can learn about the consequences of civic associational life for the vitality of urban areas.

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Digital Civil Society Lab

The Digital Civil Society Lab investigates the challenges and opportunities facing civil society organizations in the digital age, and develops resources to help organizations use digital resources safely, ethically and effectively.

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Effective Philanthropy Learning Initiative

The Effective Philanthropy Learning Initiative aims to improve the knowledge of donors—and of intermediaries providing donor education and advisory services—so they can make more informed, outcome-focused decisions, thereby increasing their philanthropic impact.

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Global Innovation for Impact Lab

The Global Innovation for Impact Lab focuses on refining diagnostic tools to support strategic decision making; understanding failure and learning as integral parts of innovation efforts; and determining conditions for success of innovation archetypes and strategies.

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Global Civil Society & Sustainable Development Lab

Global Civil Society & Sustainable Development investigates the social and cultural underpinnings of sustainable development problems and solutions and promotes the search for ways humans and the earth can flourish together.

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Polarization and Social Change Lab

The Polarization and Social Change Lab investigates strategies for addressing rising polarization and declining civility in political engagement. We theorize and empirically test interventions to overcome entrenched political divisions and affect positive social change.

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Program on Democracy and the Internet

The Program on Democracy and the Internet brings together researchers from across the Stanford campus to create an empirical research base that addresses the profound influence of the internet on the basic mechanisms of democracy, from issues of misinformation, to intimidation and harassment, to demagoguery.

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Past Research

China Program

Stanford PACS’ China program was launched in 2012. It aims to serve and connect academics and practitioners focused on the social impact sector in China. Stanford PACS is an original anchor program of the Stanford Center at Peking University where we host an annual conference each spring to explore topics related to philanthropy and social innovation. 

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Life Beyond the Farm

This research explores the dynamics of individual, civic and political engagement at Stanford. How do Stanford students transition and integrate (or not) into undergraduate life and how does the structure of their commitments on campus shift over the course of their collegiate careers?

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Recording Civic Action in China

Given the rapid growth in the number and diversity of Chinese NGOs, this archive only focuses on well-known grassroots NGOs established voluntarily by private individuals that pursue certain social missions through independent efforts. In capturing a tiny segment of Chinese NGOs, our goal is to provide scholars, practitioners, and the general public a glimpse of the colorful mélange that composes China’s young civil society.

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