Cheryl Ellenwood

About Cheryl Ellenwood

Cheryl is a fifth year Ph.D. Candidate in the School of Government and Public Policy. Her major subfield is Public Administration and Management. She has research interests in philanthropy, non-profit management, social enterprises and hybrid organization forms. Her research examines the relationships between funding entities and social enterprises and the role of legitimacy in diverse resource acquisition. She has worked with Native-led organizations in both the public and private sector and maintains an interest in minority-led nonprofits and community-based nonprofits in traditionally underserved communities. She is a former development officer for a national Native nonprofit.

Cheryl's dissertation examines organizational survival among community development financial institutioins, considering their 'risky' work and mission to provide access to financial capital to underserved communities. Dissertation chapters include a legislative history, a qualitative illustrative case study of four organizations (urban, rural, Latino-serving, and Native CDFI), and a quantitative analysis of organizational characteristics and funding outcomes, i.e. diverse funding or revenue streams. 

Cheryl is a citizen of the Nez Perce Nation of Idaho and grew up in Idaho on the Nez Perce reservation. She has worked with several Native-led organizations and views organizations in both broad and narrow terms depending on the research purpose and context. She earned a M.A. degree in American Indian Studies with a focus on Indian Law and Policy from the University of California, Los Angeles. 

Cheryl was recently awarded a SBS 2019 Summer Dissertation Fellowship ($6,000).

Cheryl's co-authored paper with Yi Zhao (PhD Candidate in Sociology) was awarded first place in the 2019 Bowers Award competition for their paper, "Same Cue, Different Reactions: Audience Evaluation of Hybrid Organizations and the Differential Effect of Gender Signal".  Their paper is currenty under review.

Cheryl serves as a Commissioner with the University of Arizona's Commission on the Status of Women.

She also serves as a Mentor with the Native SOAR Program at the University of Arizona.

She is also a SafeZone Ally and her pronouns are she, her, hers.



An Indigenous Faculty Pipeline and Interdisciplinary Mentoring Program, Co-PI with Stephanie Carroll Rainie, DrPH and Jameson Lopez, PhD. Program in Development for Fall 2019 at the University of Arizona. 

Cheryl Ellenwood's picture

Contact Information

Cheryl Ellenwood
PhD Candidate


2016 M.A. Government and Public Policy, University of Arizona

2010 M.A. American Indian Studies, University of California, Los Angeles 

2006 B.A., University of Arizona

Dissertation Title

Banking the Unbankable: The Business of CDFIs and Risky Lending in the U.S.

Courses Taught

PA 406: Bureaucracy, Policy, Politics

PA 470: Public Organizational Management

Course in Development: The Role of Indigenous Organizations in Native Nation Building