Stephen DeTray, Ph.D.

Senior Lecturer

Specialty: Political Science, Nonprofit Studies

DeTray, Stephen

Contact information

Dept: Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences
Room: WCG 408
Phone: 253-692-5654


  • Ph.D., Political Science, University of Washington, 1995.
  • M.A., University of Washington, 1988.
  • B.A., Political Science, University of Washington, 1986.


Stephen DeTray received his Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Washington in 1995. His research interests include global studies, the voluntary sector and civic and community development, focusing on the roles of community organizations in civil society. He is president of a nonprofit organization, Community-REACH, dedicated to enhancing the capacity of nonprofit organizations both locally and globally.

Dr. DeTray is currently working on a study of human service agencies in the South Puget Sound. His most recent paper is titled Service Learning and Sustainability: The Economic Impact of Nonprofit Studies at a Metropolitan University, published in the International Journal of Environmental, Cultural, Economic and Social Sustainability.

DeTray continues to work with local nonprofits, graduate students and alumni of nonprofit studies at the University of Washington, Tacoma as part of his ongoing research focus. His main interest currently is leadership and power relations in the nonprofit and public sectors.


  • Leadership and power relations in the nonprofit and public sectors. Can leadership in these critical sectors be functionally democratic?
  • The Nonprofit sector and marginalized youth in Tacoma: Crossing the Great Divide to the Skateboarding Community; Developing a national model of educational engagement.
  • Development of the next generation of community leaders and leadership in the South Sound.


  • Community Organizations and the Nonprofit Sector, TNPRFT 431. This course is an introduction to the theory and practice of nonprofit management. Contexts for understanding the general focus of nonprofit publicly-supported organizations are provided by our communities. With that in mind, we examine the role of volunteerism in the nonprofit sector and in community development. We consider the roles of nonprofit organizations in American communities and, more broadly, in American democracy. We look at the interrelated concepts of individualism and community, and how these have developed. Our goal is to consider how community might be reinvigorated and sustained.
  • Organizational Development, TNPRFT 432. Whenever people come together to accomplish something, they form an organization. The organization then becomes the vehicle for what can be accomplished. As the success of any mission relies on organization, it is a factor worthy of analysis. We are indeed an organizational society. A number of crucial questions emerge from this reality. What makes one group more effective than another? What can an organization do to revitalize itself? How can an individual effect change within any established structure? Through class discussions, lectures, readings, videos and reflection on practical experience, well consider the historical and contemporary forces driving change in organizations. Well also study how organizations succeed or fail in the face of these forces, and how organizational structures and cultures pervade all our lives, for good or ill.
  • Essentials of Grant Writing and Fundraising, TNPRFT 451. This course examines the world of fundraising for nonprofit organizations. We focus on three major components of fundraising. These are case statements, annual plans, and grant proposals. Students will develop and write a case statement, learn about annual plans and research and write a proposal. In so doing they will apply theory and best practices in fundraising. This course provides students with a comprehensive understanding of a diversified fund development program; the management skills needed in a fund development plan; and the roles of boards and executives, as well as other critical components of fundraising. Particular attention will be placed on writing skills.
  • The African Diaspora Through Music, TARTS 210. In this course we take up the fascinating trail of one of the core components of American culture  the Blues  and its roots in Africa. We start by covering the broad social and cultural history of Sub-Saharan Africa as background to explore the depth and richness of African cultures and arts. We follow these cultural roots through the devastating experience of slavery, to the emergence of the powerful cultural mix of Africa and the New World that determined so much of American culture and history. We will discuss the evolution of African-American music into gospel, blues and jazz, and study the cultural diaspora of these music forms out of America, to Europe and England, and back to Africa, through jazz, reggae, soul, hip hop, and other genres and cultures.

Selected Publications

  • Service Learning and Sustainability: The Economic Impact of Nonprofit Studies at a Metropolitan University, in International Journal of Environmental, Cultural, Economic and Social Sustainability, Vol. 1, 2005/2006.
  • Service-Learning, Nonprofit Management and Community: The Not-for-Profit Sector and Higher Education in Tacoma, WA, in Crossroads: Social Relations, Economies and Communities in the South Sound and Beyond, Vol. 1, Spring 2003 (25-37). Tacoma, WA: Center for the Study of Community and Society, University of Washington, Tacoma.
  • Book Review: Charles P. LeWarne, The Love Israel Family: Urban Commune, Rural Commune. University of Washington Press, 2009. Reviewed in The Pacific Northwest Quarterly, Vol. 101 no. 1, Winter 2010.


Steering Committee, Alchemy Indoor Skate Park & Education Center (AISPEC). Mission: We foster community by providing youth skateboarders tools and resources to develop their self-awareness, education, and marketable skills. In partnership with The Northwest Leadership Foundation, Tacoma, WA.

Professional Service

I serve as a board member for local nonprofit agencies. This has also included working with the Human Service Commission, Federal Way, WA.

Honors and Awards

  • 2007: PARC program development grant for major in Public and Nonprofit Management.
  • 2005: African Studies Course Development Grant, University of Washington.
  • 2001: Cohen Research Award for research on nonprofit organizations in Tacoma, WA.
  • 1999-2001: Student Association Advisor of the Year, consecutive years, University of Washington, Tacoma.
  • 1999: Cohen Award and American Humanics Research Grant for a study of volunteerism among University of Washington, Tacoma students.
  • 1999: Founders Endowment Grant, University of Washington, Tacoma.