Dr. Itay Greenspan

Dr. Itay Greenspan
Senior Lecturer
Room 533

A nonprofit scholar with background in the fields of geography and environmental studies. My research focuses on three bodies of knowledge: 1) the social bases of organized environmentalism, 2) identity work in nonprofit and philanthropic studies, and 3) the role of volunteering and voluntary associations in the welfare state, with special focus on immigrants.


1) Individual and institutional bases of organized environmentalism. In this track, I seek to expand theoretical and empirical understanding of the individual- and institutional-bases of actors in environmental organizations, and the environmental behaviors of individuals in society. I developed and used the concepts of environmental philanthropy and environmental volunteering to depict active support to environmental causes.

Recent projects:

Intergenerational transmission of environmental behavior. This study examines how environmental behaviors and attitudes are transmitted across generations within the family. Our goal is to measure the relationship between cultural and economic influences in three countries (Israel, USA, South Korea) and the intergenerational transmission of environmental behavior within the family.

The role of youth movements in the development of environmental activism. This study is more historic interpretive in nature, and examines how the American Zionist youth movement Young Judaea has influenced values, beliefs, funding networks and attitudes of its alumni who migrated to Israel to take leadership roles in the development of the Israeli environmental movement.


2) Identity work in nonprofit and philanthropic organizations. The alignment of personal identity with organizational mission may serve a critical role in effectively addressing the challenge of citizen participation in civil society. In this track, I aim to better understand the role of identity in nonprofit and philanthropic organizations, including how philanthropic identities are aligned with other identities.

Recent projects:

Participatory philanthropy. Exploration of the motivations and the construction of multiple identities of participants in the charity sports events, depicting the blurring boundaries between donors and fundraisers in nonprofit organizations.

Volunteering by people with disability: we evaluate the role, impact, and identity construction of youth with disabilities who engage in volunteer work and service learning initiatives in Israel.


3) The role of volunteering and nonprofits in the welfare of immigrants and migrant workers. Various organizational mechanisms and services can facilitate improved social, cultural and economic integration of immigrants into their host societies. I study how volunteering, community-based organizations, and social enterprises facilitate the welfare and integration of immigrants into the social fabric of host societies.

Recent projects:

Immigrant volunteering in Germany: In light of the significant refugee and immigrant influx into Europe, we continue our exploration of immigrant volunteering, and study patterns and motivations of immigrant volunteering in Germany.

Voluntary associations of Filipino migrant workers in Israel: We survey community-based organizations of the Filipino migrant community in Israel to understand their provision of social and welfare services to its members, and the advocacy efforts to change policies related to their working conditions. We develop theoretical typology of migrant worker associations.



List of recent publications:

Articles in refereed journals (last 5 years)

McDougle, L. M., Greenspan, I., & Handy, F. (2011). Generation green:  Understanding the motivations and mechanisms influencing young adults’ environmental volunteering. International Journal of Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Marketing, 16(4), 325-341.

Sinha, J., Greenspan, I., & Handy, F. (2011). Volunteering and civic participation among immigrant members of ethnic congregations: Complementary not competitive. Journal of Civil Society, 7(1), 23-40.

Greenspan, I., Sinha, J., & Handy, F. (2011). The road to volunteering is paved with good intentions: Is volunteering in congregations a response to altruism, social influence or instrumental benefits? International Journal of Volunteer Administration, 29(2), 1-17.

Greenspan, I., Handy, F., & Katz-Gerro, T. (2012). Environmental philanthropy: Is it similar to other types of environmental behavior? Organization & Environment, 25(2), 111-130.

Tal, A., Leon-Zchout, S., Greenspan, I., Oshri, L., & Akov, S. (2013). Israel’s environmental movement: Strategic challenges. Environmental Politics, 22(5), 779-791.

Greenspan, I. (2014). How can Bourdieu’s theory of capital benefit the understanding of advocacy NGOs? Theoretical framework and empirical illustration. Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, 43, 99-120.

Katz-Gerro, T., Greenspan, I., Handy, F., Lee, H.-Y., & Frey, A. (2015). Environmental philanthropy and environmental behavior in five countries:
Is there convergence among youth? Voluntas, 26(4), 1485-1509.

McDougle, L. M., Handy, F., Katz-Gerro, T., Greenspan, I., & Lee, H-Y. (2015). Factors predicting proclivity and intensity to volunteer for the environment in the US and South Korea. Journal of Environmental Planning & Management, 58(5), 837-854.

Greenspan I. (2015). From state orientation to civil society and partnership orientations: An outlook on development and change in the Israeli environmental movement. Bitahon Sotziali, 98, 157-193 (in Hebrew).

Walk, M., Greenspan, I., Crossley, H. & Handy, F. (2015). Skills-training programs in supported social enterprises: A social return on investment analysis. Nonprofit Management and Leadership, 26(2), 129-144.

Walk, M., Greenspan, I., Crossley, H. & Handy, F. (2015). Mind the gap: Expectations versus experiences of clients utilizing job-training services in a social enterprise. Annals of Public and Cooperative Economics86(2), 221-244.

Katz-Gerro, T., Greenspan, I., Handy, F. & Lee, H.-Y. (forthcoming). Personal value types and environmental behaviors in four countries: Biospheric, universalism, benevolence, and conformity revisited. Environmental Values.

Ramarajan, L., Berger, I. & Greenspan, I. (forthcoming). Multiple identity configurations: The benefits of focused enhancement for prosocial behavior. Organization Science


Work in Progress / under review

“Participatory philanthropy: A nonprofit-centered conceptual framework of charity sports events.” w/ Berger, I.

“Do social work students have the skills to perform their role as client intermediaries?” w/ Zanbar, L., Yitzhaky, H.

“The environmental movement on the move: Diversification and institutionalization processes in the Israeli environmental movement.”

“Partnership ambiguity: Conceptualizing cross-sector partnerships across borders.” w/ Halevy, D.

“Green social workers: Environmental concerns, attitudes, and behaviors of social work students in Israel.” w/ McDougle, L. & Handy, F.

“Client volunteering in organizations serving clients with psychiatric disabilities.” w/ Meinhard, A.


Chapters in Book Collections

Katz, H. & Greenspan, I. (2015). Giving in Israel: From old religious traditions to an emerging culture of philanthropy. In: P. Wiepking & F. Handy (eds.), The Palgrave handbook of global philanthropy (pp. 316-337). Palgrave Macmillan.

** book is winner of the 2016 Virginia A. Hodgkinson Research Book Prize by the Association for Research on Nonprofit Organizations and Voluntary Action**

Walk, M., Greenspan, I. Crossley, H. & Handy, F. (2014) Canadian immigrants and their access to services: A case study of a social purpose enterprise. In: J. Quarter, S. Ryan & A. Chan (eds.). Social purpose enterprises: Case studies for social change (pp. 162-187). Toronto: University of Toronto Press.

Meinhard, A.G., Handy, F., & Greenspan, I. (2010). Corporate participation in the social economy: Employer-supported volunteering programs. In J. Quarter, L. Mook, & S. Ryan (Eds.), Researching the social economy: A Canadian perspective (pp. 245-266). Toronto, ON: University of Toronto Press.

Greenspan, I. (2005). Palestinian and Israeli environmental narratives: Reflections on the 2002 Johannesburg Earth Summit. In S. Schoenfeld (Ed.), Palestinian and Israeli environmental narratives (pp. 75-92). Proceedings of a conference held in association with the Middle East Environmental Futures (MEEF) Project. Toronto, ON: York University, Centre for International and Security Studies.


Other Manuscripts

Cohen-Blankshtain, G., Greenspan, I., Naali-Yosef, H. & Geva, Y. (2015). Public participation in environmental decision-making: International perspectives. Tel Aviv: The Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel (SPNI) (Hebrew)

מעורבות הציבור בקידום נושאים סביבתיים: סקירה ותובנות מפרספקטיבה בינלאומית. קישור

Greenspan, I. (2014). Environmental philanthropy: The relationship between philanthropic foundations and environmental NGOs in Israel. Jerusalem: Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Center for the Study of Philanthropy in Israel [in Heb.]

פילנתרופיה סביבתית: יחסי הגומלין בין קרנות פילנתרופיות לארגוני הסביבה בישראל. קישור

Tal. A., Leon-Zchout, S., Frankel-Oshri, L., Greenspan, I., & Akov, S. (2011). Israel’s environmental movement: Trends, needs, and potential. Submitted to the JMG Foundation. Ben Gurion University. Beer Sheva, Israel (Heb. & Eng).

התנועה הסביבתית בישראל: מגמות, צרכים ופוטנציאל. קישור

Greenspan, I. (2005). Review of the book The Israeli third sector: Between welfare state and civil society, by B. Gidron, M. Bar, & H. Katz. Voluntas, 16(3), 312-314.


Ph.D. Dissertation: Israeli Environmental NGOs and Philanthropic Foundations: Donor Dependence, Organizational Characteristics, and Selection Mechanism. (University of Pennsylvania.)



"החרדים יודעים לעשות מחאה" הארץ. 4.3.2014.

Editor (with Prof. Stuart Schoenfeld) of the news blog: Environment and Climate in the Middle East