Editor's note

Helping scholars make their essays on the fundamental nature of giving resonate widely is one of the things I’ve liked most about creating The Conversation’s new philanthropy and nonprofits beat this year. These articles answer good (but often unspoken) questions like what kind of aid does the most good after disasters or whether universities can inspire young people to become philanthropists. Even as the new tax code changes rattle the charitable world in 2018, I look forward to working with many of the growing number of academics digging into these topics. Emily Schwartz Greco

Backed by over 80 percent of the white evangelical vote, Donald Trump made many decisions in his first year as president that seemed to embrace this critical constituency. Just as recently as Dec. 6, he announced the U.S. would recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, a move applauded by many evangelicals. I started as editor of the ethics and religion desk in February, or more specifically on the day of the 65th National Prayer Breakfast – a political tradition started by Dwight Eisenhower at the behest of evangelist Billy Graham. And I’m interested in working with scholars to reveal how deeply religion is embedded in our lives, even when we may not see it. Over the course of the past year, the long history of evangelicals and American politics became a key part of my desk’s coverage. Kalpana Jain

Emily Schwartz Greco

Philanthropy + Nonprofits Editor

Kalpana Jain

Ethics + Religion Editor

Philanthropy + Nonprofits

To mark its 30th anniversary in business, the national PetSmart chain is donating enough food to serve animals in need an estimated 60 million meals. Sandy Huffaker/AP Images for PetSmart

Giving and fundraising: 4 essential reads

Emily Schwartz Greco, The Conversation

Ever wondered which fundraising appeals work best or what kind of charitable donations are ideal after disasters strike?

5 reasons why people give their money away – plus 1 why they don't

Sara Konrath, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis; Femida Handy, University of Pennsylvania

Donors who support charitable causes have a 'taste' for giving, researchers found.

Why giving cash, not clothing, is usually best after disasters

Julia Brooks, Harvard University

If you want to do the greatest good, send money.

What works in workplace giving

Genevieve Shaker, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis; Robert Christensen, Brigham Young University

By some measures, Americans are giving less to charity through their jobs than they used to. But many companies say that increasing this kind of charity is a priority for them.

Learning by giving: How today's students can become tomorrow's philanthropists

Jodi Benenson, University of Nebraska Omaha; David Campbell, Binghamton University, State University of New York; Lindsey McDougle, Rutgers University Newark

After taking a class in which they give money away, students get more interested in donating to and volunteering at local nonprofits.

Ethics + Religion

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump stands during a service at the International Church of Las Vegas in Las Vegas in Oct. 2016. AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File

How the religious right shaped American politics: 6 essential reads

Kalpana Jain, The Conversation

Trump embraced evangelicals in his first year as president. Here, scholars provide historical context to how the religious right has shaped American politics over the past decades.

Why Trump's evangelical supporters welcome his move on Jerusalem

Julie Ingersoll, University of North Florida

Many American evangelicals believe that the establishment and protection of Israel set up a chain of event for the return of Jesus. What were the origins of this narrative?

Revisiting the legacy of Jerry Falwell Sr. in Trump's America

Richard Flory, University of Southern California – Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences

Falwell Sr. was a pastor who founded the Moral Majority, a conservative Christian political lobbying group. He changed the way American Christians think about their faith and politics.

National Prayer Breakfast: What does its history reveal?

Diane Winston, University of Southern California, Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism

President Trump gave a speech at the Prayer Breakfast that pledged to be "tougher" in international dealings and protect religious liberty. How does it compare with past Presidents?

How a growing Christian movement is seeking to change America

Brad Christerson, Biola University; Richard Flory, University of Southern California – Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences

A prayer rally recently organized in Washington, DC is part of a growing movement, that scholars call 'Independent Network Christianity.'

Why Jefferson's vision of American Islam matters today

Denise A. Spellberg, University of Texas at Austin

The White House may not host the traditional reception for Ramadan this year. This would be a departure from tradition and the vision of America's founders.

What Trump missed in his address on tolerance - American Muslims

David Mislin, Temple University

Trump avoided many of the missteps his critics feared, but he failed to acknowledge the presence of America's large Muslim population and its contribution to American society.