Death of leading researcher into CSOs

Lester Salamon, one of the most prominent researchers on the NGO sector, has passed away


The political science professor Lester M Salamon began researching the non-profit sector in the late 1970s and had worked in the Non-Profit Sector Research Laboratory at the Higher School of Economics since 2014. He gathered economic data on the scale, structure and financing of the sector in the United States, with his best known work being “The Comparative Non-Profit Sector”. His research in more than 40 countries involved working with 150 research institutes, more than 50 financial organisations and several hundred non-profit leaders. This was one of the first projects to provide an insight into the CSO sector on such a scale..

Many new research projects were generated from the data, including Global Civil Society: Dimensions of the Non-Profit Sector (1999) which won the best non-profit publication award in 2001.

“Prior to Lester Salamon’s work, the third sector was a lost continent on the social map of the world”, said Irina Mersiyanova, Director of the Centre for Civil Society and Non-Profit Sector Studies at the Higher School of Economics.

Irina believes that the creation of a modern community of third sector researchers that emerged during the international project was one of Dr Salamon’s finest achievements.

In recent years, Dr Salamon had focused on partnerships and studying undervalued and underused forms of philanthropy. His book on ways of funding CSOs was published in Russian with support from the Our Future Foundation.

Dr Salamon was Director of the John Hopkins Centre for Civil Society Studies in the United States and a founding scientific director at the International Non-Profit Sector Research Laboratory at the National Research University’s Higher School of Economics.


Translated by Neil Hailey

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