Research & Publications

The Forbes Funds actively engages local institutions and communities in collaborative solutions for immediate, cross-sectoral problems. Doing so provides a platform from which nonprofit leaders can better engage with, and creatively respond to opportunities and challenges. 

To serve our funders, partners, and region, The Forbes Funds convenes, supports, and creates pathways for nonprofit research that highlights the region’s nonprofit trends, opportunities and challenges. 

The Forbes Funds research and publications agenda includes white papers, case studies, thought pieces and the Tropman Report. Each year, The Forbes Funds works with local institutions, universities, local government, and independent researchers to publish research that supports the full sector from grassroots community groups to large agencies.

Elmer J. Tropman

The Tropman Report

From 2002 to 2008 and 2012, The Forbes Funds published a series of articles on the nonprofit sector entitled The Tropman Reports, named in honor of our founder, Elmer J. Tropman. At the end of each year, all written reports were compiled together in one collection. Approximately twenty-four (24) articles were published via The Tropman Reports.

In 2020, The Forbes Funds began the process of reinstituting sector research and publications via a revised version of The Tropman Reports. The revised Tropman Report launched publicly in April 2021 under the leadership of The Forbes Funds and the journals inaugural editor, Dr. Jessica Mann, Assistant Vice President of Community Engagement at Duquesne University. 

Board Member and Staff Roles

Editorial Board

Editorial Board members are selected by the journal’s editor(s), with input from The Forbes Funds. Editorial board members commit to two years of service. The inaugural Editorial Board represents academics, nonprofit leaders, and cross-sector specialists across the United States.

The editorial governance structure of the Tropman Report includes two distinct and collaborating bodies: an Editorial Team and an Editorial Board. 

The Editorial Team manages the administrative duties surrounding the recruitment of authors, execution of administrative tasks, and delivery of the journal for publication.  

The Editorial Board reviews manuscripts for publication, provides oversight and accountability for the editorial team. Editorial Board members will be selected by the editor in chief and ratified by the existing board for terms of two or three years. Board members represent a rich diversity of backgrounds.


Research and Publications - Tropman Reports

Call for Papers

The 2021 Tropman Report is seeking proposals for scholarly research projects that consider responses for the myriad challenges facing Western Pennsylvania’s nonprofit sector. The Tropman Report provides nonprofits with strategies for turning sector-wide challenges into opportunities for organizational growth and professional development.

  • Research proposals should focus on topics with potential for improving how nonprofit leaders engage current challenges (see: FAQs for more detail) within the Western Pennsylvania Nonprofit sector.
  • Proposals should articulate the opportunities for strategically responding to sector-wide challenges and constructive nonprofit development. Responses to these challenges should embody ideals of nonprofit learning, service, and stewardship while demonstrating practical methods for cross-sector collaboration, public leadership, and community engagement.


The Tropman Report welcomes submissions from representatives of the nonprofit sector, as well as public and private sector research, and any related outside subject area or disciplines.

Submitted research proposals should include the names and institutional/organizational affiliations of all authors and coauthors, the contact information of the lead researcher for the project, and an 800 word proposal that describes the research project and its impact on the Western Pennsylvania Nonprofit Sector.

Accepted research proposals will be reviewed by an editorial board organized by The Forbes Funds. Upon completion of the research process, all accepted proposals will be required to submit a manuscript inclusive of: an overview of the context in which the research was conducted, a description of the primary research approach used, and a summary of the results and implications that the findings have for the Western Pennsylvania Nonprofit Sector.

Proposals should be emailed to

Frequently Asked Questions

The 2021 Tropman Report call for papers launched in April 2021. Proposals are due no later than 11:59 pm on August 31, 2021. Please get in touch should you have any additional questions.

Is there a proposal template?

Yes. Proposal narratives must respond to the following questions:

  1. What is the central message of the article you propose to write?
  2. What is important and timely about your idea? What gaps in knowledge or understanding do you intend to respond to?
  3. How and why should your idea be applied in the work of nonprofit/philanthropy leaders today?
  4. What is the source of your authority? What academic, professional, community, or personal experiences will you draw on?
  5. What example(s) do you have to inform your argument?

Your proposal submission should be no more than 800 words and should offer an outline of the proposed article that affords reviewers an overview of your argument and article.

If you need support with your proposal, please contact Dr. Hannah Karolak at The Forbes Funds ( The Forbes Funds’ Executive in Residence (EIR) program has research and publications coaches who can support you during the submission process.*

What types of research does the Tropman Report accept?

The Tropman Report welcomes submissions from representatives of the nonprofit sector, as well as public and private sector research, and any related outside subject area or disciplines.

Proposals may include qualitative, quanitative, rhetorical, theoretical research. Case studies, whitepapers, and thought pieces may also be submitted for consideration. All proposals must follow the proposal template and be submitted before the deadline. 

Can you provide challenge examples?
  • Challenges can range from, but are not limited to: managing pressures generated by increasingly complex stakeholder relationships, internal conflict management, changing and risky financial environments, over-reliance on foundation funding, and challenges to achieving accessibility, equity, and inclusion.
  • Opportunities may include alignment with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, nonprofit and cross-sector collaboration, building relationships with stakeholders, and technological innovations.
Can you provide examples of what studies may include?
  • Theoretical and conceptual investigations oriented toward improving nonprofit practice
  • Case studies and program evaluations that elaborate methods and means for nonprofits to locate opportunities within complex technological, economic, ecological, social, and political environments
  • Think pieces on current issues in nonprofit management and leadership
  • Book reviews on important or emerging topics relevant to the nonprofit sector
Where should I submit my proposal? And, who should I contact with questions?

Proposals should be emailed to no later than 11:59pm on August 1, 2021. Questions may be sent to the Forbes Funds’ director of learning & education, Dr. Hannah Karolak. Please send questions to 

Dr. Hannah Karolak

Hi, I am Dr. Hannah Karolak and I lead learning & education programs at The Forbes Funds. Our learning programs support current and future nonprofit leaders through coaching, mentorship, technical assistance, and professional development. Through partnerships with local universities, we are creating access to higher education for nonprofit professionals. Let me and our team of coaches support you in your journey to securing career mobility and greater leadership capacity.

Vision: The Forbes Funds learning and education programs support leaders as they navigate the changing demands of nonprofit work. Each of our learning programs include an aspect of coaching or mentorship, technical assistance, and professional development certification through digital badges, university credits, or continuous education credits. We use rapid prototyping to develop cohorts quarterly that respond to real-times needs of the sector. Through partnerships with our funders, we continue to offer these opportunities at low or no cost.

Contact me to learn more