Growing Civil Society: From Nonprofit Sector to Third Space (2008)
This book investigates the role of voluntary action and nonprofit organization in contemporary America. It notes that society contains four sectors – governmental, market, family and nonproft – and argues that the concept of a ‘third space’ is a more useful way of conceptualizing the area of society that is occupied by nonprofits as well as many individuals and organizations that come together to work for the common good. Van Til is a respected commentator on nonprofit and philanthropic issues and he notes in the preface to this paperback edition that this book has been ten years in gestation. He offers a rounded review of third sector activity, including successes and limitations. But ultimately the author is a champion of his focus of study, arguing that the third space is crucial because it has the potential to be a wellspring for rebuilding a troubled society in an age of rapid change and turbulence.