Dover, Michael A.

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Dover, Michael A.


Education: Adelphi University, B.S.W., 1978; Columbia University, M.S.S.W., 1980; University of Michigan, M.A., 1996, Ph.D., 2003.


Home—MI. Office—College of Humanities and Social and Behavioral Science, Central Michigan University, Mount Pleasant, MI 48859.


Social worker, c. 1978—. Founding member, Social Welfare Action Alliance.


Nonprofit Doctoral Research Award, University of Michigan, 2002.


(With David Horton Smith and Robert A. Stebbins) A Dictionary of Nonprofit Terms and Concepts, Indiana University Press (Bloomington, IN), 2006.


Michael A. Dover is a social worker, but he also has a strong background in understanding and managing not-for-profit enterprises, as well as an interest in social justice activism. He received his bachelor of social work degree in 1978 and followed this with a master of science in social work degree in 1980. He also served as a founding member of the Bertha Capen Reynolds Society (now known as the Social Welfare Action Alliance, or SWAA). Bertha Capen Reynolds was a social worker who was firmly committed to social justice through the support of trade unions and other socially aware organizations. Capen Reynolds "challenged the basic tenets of her field," explained Linda Grobman in the New Social Worker Magazine, "by calling for greater attention to the full range of human needs, and was dedicated to eradicating the root causes of war and the inequalities in the structure and values of society." The Alliance, in Dover's words, is based on the principle "that social workers should be serious about social change." "For SWAA," Dover continued in an interview with Grobman "it is a principle that we are open to social workers, human service workers, and other community-based anti-poverty and other activists. We're also the only organization in social work that is explicitly on the port side of the social work ship—in other words, we are on the political left, which we define broadly as being progressive."

Dover's A Dictionary of Nonprofit Terms and Concepts, which he edited with David Horton Smith and Robert A. Stebbins, collects 1,200 ideas that are important in the nonprofit sector and brings them together in a single place. The need for the book grew out of the fact that, unlike the for-profit sector, many words and concepts used in nonprofit enterprises are unique to the not-for-profit world. According to a Choice reviewer, "the study of nonprofits has been historically weak in its theoretical presentation." "This dictionary," explained a contributor to the Philanthropy UK Web site, "is born of a belief that a general theory of the non-profit sector is needed" as a precursor to creating a general theory of how nonprofits fit into the modern global capitalist economy. The book, according to Anne W. Howard in the Chronicle of Philanthropy, is divided into sections reflecting the different parts of the nonprofit universe, including politics and government, management of nonprofit groups, the role of volunteers, and philanthropy, working toward an end goal of helping to "create a common vocabulary for the nonprofit world."



Choice, October, 2007, review of A Dictionary of Nonprofit Terms and Concepts, p. 267.

Chronicle of Philanthropy, August 23, 2007, Anne W. Howard, "Book Helps Create a Common Language in the Nonprofit Sector."


Central Michigan University, College of Humanities and Social and Behavioral Science Web site, (January 16, 2008), brief biography of Michael A. Dover.

New Social Worker Magazine Online, (January 16, 2008), Linda Grobman, "Association Spotlight: Social Welfare Action Alliance."

Philanthropy UK, (January 16, 2008), review of A Dictionary of Nonprofit Terms and Concepts.

University of Michigan, Nonprofit and Public Management Center Web site, (January 16, 2008), "NPM Doctoral Research Award Recipients."