Faculty & Research

Charles M. "Mel" Gray

Professor of Business Economics : Finance Department

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Mel Gray has been teaching economics, strategy and nonprofit management to undergraduate and M.B.A. students for more than 35 years. Previously, he was a staff economist at the Federal Reserve Banks of St. Louis and Minneapolis, and for a Minnesota state agency; he also served as executive director of a nonprofit community development agency. He has been a visiting or adjunct faculty member at Macalester College, Central Michigan University, and the Universities of Oslo, North Carolina, Minnesota, British Columbia and Rochester. 

He received a B.A. in social science and math from Hendrix College, and his A.M. and Ph.D. in economics from Washington University in St. Louis. Gray’s primary research interests are the nonprofit and creative sectors, especially social entrepreneurship and the nonprofit arts. He has authored or edited three books, including The Economics of Art and Culture with the late James Heilbrun (3rd ed. forthcoming), and his publications include numerous articles and book chapters. He is editor emeritus of Nonprofit Management and Leadership and is a past president of the Association for Cultural Economics, International.

Gray has been a consultant to the U.S. Department of Justice, the National Endowment for the Arts, the District of Columbia, several Minnesota state agencies and numerous companies, nonprofit organizations, law firms and trade associations.


Academic Background

B.A., social sciences, Hendrix College
A.M., economics, Washington University
Ph.D., economics, Washington University

Research Specialties

  • Creative industries
  • Nonprofit sector
  • Organizational governance and architecture
  • Applied public finance
  • Strategy

Current Research

  • Public participation in the performing arts
  • Arts, sports, and metropolitan growth
  • Strategic behavior in the performing arts
  • Nonprofit financial indicators and organizational success

Major Works

  • Co-author. The Economics of Art and Culture, 3rd edition. Cambridge University Press, forthcoming.
  • "Hope for the Future? Childhood Exposure to the Arts and Adult Visits to Art Museums," Journal of Cultural Economics 22 (1998).
  • Turning On and Tuning In: Public Participation in the Arts via Media. Seven Locks Press for the National Endowment for the Arts, 1995.
  • Editor and contributor. The Costs of Crime. Sage Publications, 1979.
  • Co-author. "Cost Effectiveness of Residential Community Corrections," Evaluation Quarterly (August, 1978). Reprinted, U.S. Department of Justice (1978).
  • Co-author. "Metropolitan Area Growth: A Test of Export Base Concepts," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis (July, 1970).

Significant Scholarly Honors

  • President, Association for Cultural Economics  International
  • Advisory Board, National Center on Nonprofit Enterprise
  • University Scholar, University of St. Thomas

Other Professional Activity

  • Editor, "Nonprofit Management and Leadership"
  • Advisory Board, National Center on Nonprofit Enterprise

Current Community Relations

  • Advisory Position, Tubman Family Alliance