The University of Massachusetts Amherst

Viviana Chiu Sik Wu

headshot of Viviana Chiu Sik Wu
Assistant Professor of Public Policy


628 Thompson Hall

Viviana Chiu Sik Wu is an assistant professor at the School of Public Policy. Using mixed methods and computational approaches, she studies the roles and capacities of nonprofit, philanthropic, and grassroots organizations to advance public problem solving online and offline. Her research interests include philanthropy and nonprofit management, inequality and place-based disadvantage, connective action on social media, computational methods, and text as data.

Currently, she is examining the effect of place-based inequality on nonprofit capacity, conceptualizing the leadership capacity and mediating roles of foundations in public engagement and advancing policy change, and analyzing the use of social media for engaging public stakeholders and policy advocacy. Her coauthored paper “The Place Dilemma of Community Foundations: ‘Equalizing’ the Inequality?” received the 2017 Association for Research on Nonprofit Organizations and Voluntary Action (ARNOVA) Best Conference Paper Award. She recently was awarded a research grant from the Generosity Commission for a project “The ‘Matthew Effect’ in Generosity: Examining the Impact on Nonprofit Capacity Across Place and Time,” which looks at the “philanthropic gap” across the US, with a particular focus on how nonprofits that serve disadvantaged communities are affected.

Formerly the managing editor of Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, Wu has published in the Journal of Nonprofit Education and Leadership, Voluntas: The International Journal of Voluntary and Nonprofit Organizations, and the Academy of Management Proceedings.

Wu holds a PhD in social welfare from the University of Pennsylvania, where her dissertation was on “The Promises and Challenges of Community Philanthropy: Exploring Place Dilemma, Community Leadership, and Public Engagement on Social Media for Leading Change.” She also received a bachelor’s degree in public administration and laws and a law degree from the University of Hong Kong, as well as a master’s in nonprofit leadership from the University of Pennsylvania.

Research interests: 

Philanthropy and nonprofit management, inequality, social media advocacy and engagement