• Ph.D. in Sociology, Yale University
Research Areas
  • Arts and Cultural Participation
  • Nonprofit Governance
  • Philanthropy
Teaching Areas
  • Finance, Management and Leadership (including non-profits)

Francie Ostrower is a professor in the LBJ School of Public Affairs and College of Fine Arts, director of the LBJ School’s Portfolio Program in Arts and Cultural Management and Entrepreneurship, and a senior fellow in the RGK Center for Philanthropy and Community Service. She is principal investigator of the Building Audiences for Sustainability Initiative: Research and Evaluation, a six-year study of audience-building activities by performing arts organizations commissioned and funded by The Wallace Foundation through a $3.5 million grant. Prior to joining The University of Texas at Austin in 2008, she was senior research associate at the Urban Institute and prior to that a sociology faculty member at Harvard University. Dr. Ostrower has been a visiting professor at IAE de Paris/Sorbonne Graduate Business School and is an Urban Institute affiliated scholar. She has authored numerous publications on philanthropy, nonprofit governance, and arts and cultural participation that have received awards from the Association for Research on Nonprofit and Voluntary Action (ARNOVA) and Independent Sector. Her research has been supported by grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Aspen Institute, among others. Recent professional activities include serving as a board member and president of ARNOVA and on the Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly board, and the academic advisory committee of Stanford Social Innovation Review.

Media Expertise
  • Non-Profit Management and Governance
  • Non-Profit Management
  • Philanthrophy


Media MentionMarch 31, 2016
Perpetuity or Spend-Down: Does the Notion of Lifespan Matter in Organized Philanthropy?

Are foundations with set periods for spending down their assets more effective as grantmakers than their peers who are established to exist in perpetuity? This is a longstanding discussion among philanthropists, with an article on the topic by Ray Madoff and Rob Reich published just yesterday in the Chronicle of Philanthropy. But Francie Ostrower, who has done extensive and in-depth research into this aspect of foundations, has some answers that may surprise readers and spark dialogue among advocates either of limited life or philanthropic immortality—so weigh in!

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Media MentionSeptember 14, 2012
MOCA's board: Deep pockets aren't a cure-all
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UT’s Francie Ostrower Snags $3.5 Million to Study Arts Engagement

From 2002-12, attendance at arts organizations declined from 39 percent to 33 percent. In a Sept. 26, 2013 article in The New York Times, Patricia Cohen wrote that the downward slope was continuing, especially in the theater. Last week, UT professor Francie Ostrower became the recipient of a $3.5 million Wallace Foundation grant—the largest sponsored research grant received by a professor in the College of Fine Arts in the history of the university—to study how arts organizations are combating that trend.

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