Hauser Institute

The Hauser Institute for Civil Society at Harvard University is a university-wide center for the study of civil society and nonprofit organizations. The Hauser Institute seeks to expand understanding and accelerate critical thinking about civil society, its leaders and institutions among scholars, practitioners, policy makers and the general public by encouraging scholarship, developing curriculum, fostering mutual learning between academics and practitioners, and shaping policies that enhance the sector and its role in society.


The Hauser Center for Nonprofit Organizations was established in 1997 with a generous grant from Rita and Gustave Hauser. In 2013 the Hauser Center merged with the Center for Public Leadership at the Harvard Kennedy School, and became the Hauser Institute for Civil Society.


The institute’s goals include:

Research: Explore the critical questions about the role of nonprofits, civil society institutions and movements worldwide and the challenges of leading and innovating in the sector.

Education: Support the development of curricula and teaching about civil society and nonprofit organizations across Harvard University and in the field for degree program courses and executive education.

Practice: Connect current and future leaders with students, new thinking, and scholarship.


The Hauser Institute is actively engaged in research and support of practice in civil society including:

  • Organizing leadership
  • Philanthropic practices and leadership and and effective fundraising
  • Strengthening urban arts in the United States
  • Financial markets and developing a more just and sustainable society
  • Nonprofits in China
  • International NGOs
  • The status of the working poor in the informal economy