My research on philanthropy is focused on the advocacy efforts and political influence of philanthropic foundations, particularly in education policy.


Reckhow, Sarah and Megan Tompkins-Stange. 2018. “Financing the Education Policy Discourse: Philanthropic Funders as Entrepreneurs in Policy Networks.Interest Groups & Advocacy. 7(3): 258-288.

Snyder, Jeffrey W. and Sarah Reckhow. 2017. “Politics Determinants of Philanthropic Funding for Urban Schools.” Journal of Urban Affairs. 39(1): 91-107.

Reckhow, Sarah. 2016. “More than Patrons: How Foundations Fuel Policy Change and Backlash.” PS: Political Science and Politics. 49(3): 449-454.

Reckhow, Sarah. 2015. “Beyond Blueprints: Questioning the Replication Model in Education Philanthropy.” Society. 52(6): 552-558.

Reckhow, Sarah and Jeffrey W. Snyder. 2014. “The Expanding Role of Philanthropy in Education Politics.” Educational Researcher. 43(4): 186-195.


 Reckhow, Sarah.  2013.  Follow the Money: How Foundation Dollars Change Public School Politics.  New York: Oxford University Press.


Education Politics

In education politics, I study the consequences of new policies (such as charter schools, portfolio management models, alternative certification, and state takeovers) for political mobilization, public opinion, and coalition formation.


Reckhow, Sarah, Jeffrey R. Henig, Rebecca Jacobsen, and Jamie Alter Litt. 2017.  “‘Outsiders with Deep Pockets:’  The Nationalization of Local School Board Elections.”  Urban Affairs Review.  53(5): 783-811.

Mason, Mary, and Sarah Reckhow. 2017. “Rootless Reforms?: State Takeovers and School Governance in Detroit and Memphis.” Peabody Journal of Education. 92(1): 64-75.

Reckhow, Sarah, Matt Grossmann, and Benjamin C. Evans. 2015. Policy Cues and Ideology in Attitudes toward Charter SchoolsPolicy Studies Journal.

Jacobsen, Rebecca, Rachel White, and Sarah Reckhow. 2016. “Cultivating Political Powerhouses: TFA Corps Members Experiences that Shape Local Political Engagement.Education Policy Analysis Archives. 24(18).

Ansell, Christopher, Sarah Reckhow, and Andrew Kelly.  2009.  “How to Reform a Reform Coalition: Outreach, Agenda Expansion, and Brokerage in Urban School Reform.”  Policy Studies Journal.  37(4): 717-743.


Henig, Jeffrey, Rebecca Jacobsen, and Sarah Reckhow. 2019. Outside Money in School Board Elections: The Nationalization of Education Politics. Harvard Education Press.

Urban Politics and Policy

In urban politics, I study the role of nonprofits, philanthropies, and advocacy groups. I have a new book project underway, Challenging the Urban Political Economy, on whether and how city governments respond to economic inequality locally.


Reckhow, Sarah, Davia Downey, and Joshua Sapotichne. Forthcoming. “Governing without Government: Nonprofit Governance in Detroit and Flint.” Urban Affairs Review.

Lowe, Kate, Juliet Gainsborough, and Sarah Reckhow. 2016. “Capacity and Equity: Federal Funding Competition Between and Within Regions.” Journal of Urban Affairs.

Lester, William T. and Sarah Reckhow.  2013.  “Network governance and regional equity: Shared agendas or problematic partners?”  Planning Theory.  12(2): 115-138.

Reckhow, Sarah.  2009.  “The Distinct Patterns of Organized and Elected Representation of Racial and Ethnic Groups.”  Urban Affairs Review.  45(2): 188-217.



Policy Briefs and Commentary

Reckhow, Sarah, Rebecca Jacobsen, and Jeffrey Henig. 2019. “Why are teachers protesting in ‘blue’ cities?The Washington Post. March 8.

Reckhow, Sarah, Davia Downey, and Josh Saptichne. 2018. “Detroit and Flint Keep Relying on Private Money to Solve Public Problems: Why?” The Washington Post. November 27.

Downey, Davia, and Sarah Reckhow. 2018. “Unnatural Disasters: Can Nonprofit Governance Promote Recovery in Detroit and Flint?” Institute for Public Policy and Social Research. Michigan State University.

Thiel, Craig and Sarah Reckhow. 2017. “Special Education Funding Falls More Heavily on Urban School Districts.” Bridge. December 21.

Reckhow, Sarah. 2016. “Learn from the Costly Mistakes of Failed EAA.” Detroit Free Press. March 19.

Sarah Reckhow and Margaret Weir.  2011.  “Building a Stronger Regional Safety New: Philanthropy’s Role.”  Metropolitan Opportunity Series.  The Brookings Institution.