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US-China Forum 2021: Addressing Inequality and Promoting Social Welfare

Jennifer E. Mosley

Photo of Professor Jennifer Mosley

Jennifer E. Mosley

Associate Professor, Crown Family School of Social Work, Policy, and Practice
Editor-in-Chief, Social Service Review
The University of Chicago

Jennifer Mosley researches the role of nonprofit organizations as political actors, specifically the role human service organizations, community-based nonprofits, and philanthropic foundations play in advocating for or implementing policy change that affects underrepresented populations. She is particularly interested in the relationship between advocacy and improved democratic representation and how public administration and nonprofit management trends, particularly within collaborative governance and contracting, affect the public policy roles of nonprofit organizations.  

Mosley's research shows how human service nonprofits use collaborative governance processes and involvement in policy advocacy to more effectively support the communities or populations they serve, as well as to strategically gain access to greater resources and legitimacy. Her previous work investigates how environmental and organizational pressures work together to encourage or constrain different types of advocacy involvement, the extent to which human service nonprofits become involved in advocacy, the specific tactics they choose, and the intersection between collaboration and advocacy. Other work explores the political activity of a wider variety of nonprofit organizations, such as community-based organizations on the Southside of Chicago, and investigations into the role philanthropic foundations play in both shaping and responding to major policy change.  

She is currently extending her research on nonprofits and policy in a number of areas, particularly the democratic legitimacy of collaborative governance networks and how nonprofits have responded to evidence-based practice mandates. At Crown Family School, she teaches courses on policy formulation and implementation, advocacy and social change, and organizational theory. She has been the editor-in-chief of Social Service Review, a premier peer-reviewed academic journal housed at the Crown Family School since July 2021.

She received her BA in psychology from Reed College and her MSW and PhD in social welfare from the University of California, Los Angeles. While at UCLA, she was also a fieldwork supervisor and a senior research associate at the Center for Civil Society. Her practice experience is in the areas of child welfare, homeless services, community-based advocacy, and social justice philanthropy.