Projects and Publications

I’ve written a broad range of materials aimed at a wide variety of audiences. My published works include picture books for young children, case studies for use in graduate-level university courses, multimedia curricular materials for teachers of the visually impaired, and long-form reports targeted to foundation boards and executives.

My most recent publications are related to my work at the Center for Strategic Philanthropy and Civil Society at Duke.


Disrupting Philanthropy: Technology and the Future of the Social Sector

By Lucy Bernholz with Edward Skloot and Barry Varela

Center for Strategic Philanthropy and Civil Society, Sanford School of Public Policy, Duke University

Disrupting Philanthropy examines the immediate and longer-term implications of networked digital technologies for philanthropy. Case studies of FasterCures and the Edna McConnell Clark Foundation show how information networks have transformed the grant-making strategies of institutional funders.


Case Study Database

I conceived of, created, and maintained the Center for Strategic Philanthropy’s database of philanthropy case studies.

The Center for Strategic Philanthropy occupies a unique position in between scholarship and practice, and the intended audience for our case studies is practitioners. As part of our strategic communications planning, we determined that the best way to attract that audience was to do away with the old model of charging for individual case studies and instead creating a go-to, searchable repository of not only our own original cases but cases from across many disciplines and areas of interest.

The Case Study Database is designed to enable scholars planning to teach courses in philanthropy, foundation consultants looking for real-life examples of strategic philanthropy, donors or foundation executives who want to learn from the experiences of other foundations, or anyone who’s curious about philanthropy to find case studies of philanthropic initiatives. There are currently more than 600 case studies linked to in the Database.


Teaching case studies

The following case studies are typical of those I produced for the Center for Strategic Philanthropy.

“Three Foundations and the Pittsburgh Public Schools”

Original teaching case study

Center for Strategic Philanthropy and Civil Society

The Heinz Endowments, the Grable Foundation, and the Pittsburgh Foundation had a long history of funding conventional initiatives such as arts projects and science programs in the Pittsburgh public schools. Those initiatives, valuable as they were, in no way addressed the problem currently plaguing the school system: an utterly dysfunctional school board. No single, unified, powerful entity had emerged to represent the interests of Pittsburgh’s schoolchildren. The foundation leaders believed that such an entity could help district schools function more effectively despite the presence of an ineffective board. The question was: How could the foundations assist the public in creating such an entity?

“The Ford Foundation and TransFair USA”

Original case study

Center for Strategic Philanthropy and Civil Society

The sole third-party certifier of fair trade products in the United States, TransFair USA audited the coffee custody chain from shippers to brokers, to roasters, to retailers, in order to guarantee that farm cooperatives were paid the global Fairtrade Labelling Organizations International price. In effect, TransFair USA was attempting to correct a market failure at the production end of the supply chain—coffee farmers’ inability to earn a living wage—by addressing a complementary market failure at the consumption end—coffee consumers’ inability to distinguish fairly priced coffee from conventional coffee. Though the Ford Foundation awarded TransFair USA a series of grants, the organization lacked the capacity to meet the rapidly growing demand for fair trade coffee.

Consequently, Ford program officers Michael Conroy and Michele Kahane worked with TransFair USA founder Paul Rice to write a business plan that included a $2 million program-related investment from Ford.



I began my career as a children’s book editor, working for Harper & Row, Random House, and Henry Holt. I have edited innumerable works of fiction and nonfiction for major trade book publishing houses including W.H. Freeman/Scientific American, National Geographic Press, William Morrow, HarperCollins, Disney/Hyperion, Simon & Schuster, Scholastic, and Random House. These are my individually authored works.


Palmers Gate

A novel

Roaring Brook Press

Set in a small working-class town near the South Jersey shore, Palmers Gatedescribes 11-year-old Robby Cleff’s attempts to understand and befriend the classmate who lives next door. Colleen Gardner is a childlike, virtually silent girl who may or may not be hiding a chilling secret. Sparely written but emotionally charged, the story builds to a powerful, indeed incendiary climax.



A picture book, illustrated by Ed Briant

Roaring Brook Press

When Professor Glink decides to create a perpetual motion machine replete with a “mingle-mangle” of pendulums, pulleys, cogs and gears, the contraption soon takes on a life of its own–with hilarious results. With sensationally complicated illustrations and show-stopping tongue-twisters, Gizmo may be the looniest picture book of the year.


Arctic Tale

A junior novelization, companion to the documentary film Arctic Tale

National Geographic Children’s Books

Arctic Tale accompanies the Paramount Vantage motion picture from the producers of March of the Penguins, a 2005 Academy Award winner. The film, narrated by Queen Latifah, follows the dual drama of Seela and Nanu, a walrus calf and polar bear cub, as they embark on their astonishing journey from infancy to maturity amidst the stark beauty of the Arctic landscape. Protected by mothers who will stop at nothing to ensure their safe passage to adulthood, both cubs romp in their cold playground as ever-present threats of starvation, predators, and a harsh homeland are overcome in an unrelenting life-and-death struggle to survive.


Hogsheads to Blockheads: The Kids Guide to Colonial Williamsburg’s Historic Area

A guidebook for children, illustrated by Bentley Boyd

Colonial Williamsburg Foundation

Written just for kids, this book will tell you how to have the most fun in the coolest place from the eighteenth century—Colonial Williamsburg’s Historic Area.