Cnaan, Ram

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Associate Dean for Research, Professor, and Chair of the Doctoral Program in Social Welfare
Dr. Ram Cnaan is a professor, associate dean for research, and chair of the Doctoral Program in Social Welfare at the University of Pennsylvania, School of Social Policy & Practice. He received his doctorate from the School of Social Work at the University of Pittsburgh, and his B.S.W. and M.S.W. from the Hebrew University, Jerusalem, Israel. Dr. Cnaan has published numerous articles in scientific journals on a variety of social issues. He is the author of
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Now showing 1 - 10 of 26
  • Publication
    Towards a Practice-based Model for Community Practice: Linking Theory and Practice
    (2012-03-01) Cnaan, Ram A; Boehm, Amnon
    Careful examination of the literature of community practice shows that existing community practice models do not ad- equately respond to the unique and changing needs of vari- ous communities. This article provides an alternative model that challenges the existing models. Based on extensive content analysis of the literature and practice knowledge, this alterna- tive model offers sufficient flexibility to adapt to any particular community. The model is also participatory, process-oriented, and reflective. Herein we first review existing models, provide criteria for assessing their applicability, then introduce the new model, and subsequently discuss its applicability and merit.
  • Publication
    Review of Peter J. Wosh, Covenant House: Journey of a Faith-based Charity
    (2005-01-01) Cnaan, Ram A
    In Covenant House: Journey of a Faith-Based Charity, Peter Wosh provides us with a modern historical review of one of the most famous, and infamous, faith-based social service agencies. Covenant House is the creation of Bruce Ritter, a Franciscan friar who witnessed the growth of youth runaways in New York and established a network of local as well as national and international semifranchised agencies to help them. The case study of Covenant House contains almost everything for which a nonprofit scholar can ask: the formation of a successful nonprofit organization (NPO), an analysis of growth, charismatic leadership, expansion, crisis and demise of the founder, rebirth, and recovery. Of the many cases I have read throughout the years, this one is by far the most extensive and carefully crafted.
  • Publication
    Congregations as Social Service Providers: Services, Capacity, Culture, and Organizational Behavior
    (2004-01-01) Cnaan, Ram A; Sinha, Jill W; McGrew, Charlene C
    Social welfare is traditionally discussed as a mixture of public, private, communal, and familial enterprise. Indeed, most textbooks and programs focus on the changing balance between these four circles of care. In the United States, a fifth and recently prominent circle of care exists and plays a major role, namely congregation-based social service provision. In this article, we first explain why faith-based care is so paramount in the United States, including a short discussion about the political developments in faith-based efforts. We then show the scope of congregational involvement in social service provision based on a large study of congregations. The rest of the article is dedicated to key administrative challenges regarding this mode of social service provision with a focus on their capacity, cultural characteristics, and organizational behavior. The latter topic is divided between start-up of new projects by congregations and issues related to running social programs in congregational settings. We conclude with a summary and discussion about the place of congregations as social service providers in the American welfare arena.
  • Publication
    Entrepreneurship in the Public Sector: The Horns of a Dilemma
    (1995) Perlmutter, Felice D; Cnaan, Ram A
    What are local public administrators expected to do in an era of tax-based decline, diminishing state and federal support, and intensified public demand for more and better services? Felice Perlmutter and Ram Cnaan argue that a policy of fundraising and development is one solution to this dilemma. The authors acknowledge that private support for public services is not a new idea or practice; however, an institutionalized policy of capital campaign and donation seeking from private sources on an ongoing basis to fund traditional public services is the essence of this new policy. Perlmutter and Cnaan provide us with a case study of the Department of Recreation in the city of Philadelphia which, through the proactive leadership of a new commissioner, took on the mission of establishing a development unit and annual fund campaign. The authors describe the background of the new policy, its formulation, and implementation. This policy, however, is not without its risks, and Perlmutter and Cnaan detail some of these risks as a precaution for those wishing to hastily adopt the new policy.
  • Publication
    Nonprofit Watchdogs: Do They Serve the Average Donor?
    (2010-06-02) Cnaan, Ram A; Jones, Kathleen; Dickin, Allison; Salomon, Michele
    Nonprofit watchdog organizations—organizations devoted to rating the accountability and transparency of nonprofits—claim to serve donors who are selecting which nonprofits to support. However, using three waves of the Harris Interactive Donor Pulse, we found that the overwhelming majority of donors (77.6 percent) do not consult these online intermediaries when making donations. Those who do are likely to fall into one of two groups: donors who give large sums of money or donors who are engaged in advocacy. We conclude with conceptual and practical implications.
  • Publication
    Volunteering for Human Service Provisions: Lessons from Italy and the U.S.A.
    (1997) Ascoli, Ugo; Cnaan, Ram A
    The increased reliance on volunteers in all industrialized democracies has been parallelled by growing fiscal crises in most states, widespread criticism of welfare, and increased demand for social services. While volunteer work is presumed to be an alternative to public services, its feasibility is not yet clear. We suggest that a cross-national comparison of two significantly different countries would provide more information about volunteerism as a partial substitute for public services. We compared the United States where volunteerism is a widespread tradition and Italy where there has been a "rediscovery" of volunteerism since the 1980s. Differences between the two countries in the practice of volunteerism are examined from several perspectives. They include the relationships between volunteers and the statutory sector, the professionalization of volunteer activity, the role of citizen participation in a capitalistic society, and the Lockean principle of limited government. Finally, we conclude that while there are many differences in welfare provision between the United States and Italy, they do have a common element: increased reliance on volunteers for every aspect of day-to-day life; however, this reliance is mostly ideologically-based and may prove unfounded and costly.
  • Publication
    Financial Inclusion: Lessons From Rural South India
    (2012-01-01) Cnaan, Ram A; Handy, Femida; Moodithaya, M. S
    Financial inclusion/exclusion has recently been emphasised as an important policy option aimed at alleviating poverty, minimising social exclusion and enhancing economic growth. In this article, we review the growing interest in financial exclusion and inclusion, define them and demonstrate their existence in developing and developed countries. Our empirical focus is on whether financial inclusion has been successfully implemented in four sites in rural South India where banks claimed that financial inclusion is complete. Although many rural people in South India are financially included, the concept of financial inclusion is more complex than usually portrayed. Our findings show that social and personal deprivation contributes to financial exclusion and should be viewed as key barriers to financial inclusion. We also suggest that financial inclusion is not a monolithic phenomenon and should be studied in a multi-layered fashion, ranging from having a bank account to making full use of modern financial instruments.
  • Publication
    Public Perception of "Who is a Volunteer": An Examination of the Net-cost Approach from a Cross-Cultural Perspective
    (2000-03-01) Handy, Femida; Cnaan, Ram A; Brudney, Jeffrey L; Ascoli, Ugo; Meijs, Lucas C; Ranade, Shree
    Volunteers are the cornerstones on which the voluntary sector is predicated. We are accustomed to using this phrase in every aspect of our lives, yet too little systematic work has been carried out to define this term in a rigorous and precise manner. Volunteering is the essence of the scholarly work of numerous academicians around the world, however there are many issues that arise when people report their own volunteering or attempt to define the term volunteer. No clear-cut definition that encompasses all aspects of volunteering exists. Often too many different activities and situations are aggregated into this concept (Cnaan, Handy, & Wadsworth, 1996; Scheier, 1980; Smith, 1995; Tremper, Seidman, & Tufts, 1994; Vineyard, 1993).
  • Publication
    Adolescent Risk Behaviors and Religion: Findings from a National Study
    (2007-05-04) Sinha, Jill W; Cnaan, Ram A; Gelles, Richard W
    Too few studies have assessed the relationship between youth risk behaviors and religiosity using measures which captured the varied extent to which youth are engaged in religion. This study applied three measures of religiosity and risk behaviors. In addition, this study ascertained information about youths’ participation in religious activities from a parent or caretaker. Based on a national random sample of 2,004 teens (ages 11-18), this study indicates that youth perceive religion as important, are active in religious worship and activities, and further shows that perceived importance of religion as well as participation in religious activities are associated with decreased risk behaviors. Looking at ten risk behaviors, religiosity variables were consistently associated with reduced risk behaviors in the areas of: smoking, alcohol use, truancy, sexual activity, marijuana use, and depression. In the case of these six risk variables, religiosity variables were significantly associated with reduced risk behaviors when controlling for family background variables and self esteem. The study highlights the importance of further understanding the relationship between religious variables, background variables, self esteem, and youth risk behaviors.
  • Publication
    Performance and Commitment: Issues in Management of Volunteers in Human Service Organizations
    (1999) Cnaan, Ram A; Cascio, Toni
    Volunteers are difficult to monitor because they are not liable to serious sanctions. We propose that we cannot learn about volunteer work from existing knowledge of paid employees. We then review the literature regarding volunteer commitment and performance. Based on a sample of 510 consistent volunteers in human service organizations, we assess three sets of variables (demographic, personality, and situational) to determine their significance in explaining variability in volunteer commitment and performance. The findings suggest that careful screening and use of symbolic rewards are significant in explaining variation in volunteer satisfaction, hours volunteered per month (commitment), and length of service (tenure).