Date of Award

Spring 2021

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Educational Foundations & Leadership


Community College Leadership

Committee Director

Felecia Commodore

Committee Member

Jason Lynch

Committee Member

Dennis Gregory


With roots going back to the early 1830s and up to today, African-Americans continue to choose Historically Black College and Universities (HBCUs) for their post-secondary education needs. To understand the fundraising strategies utilized at HBCUs, this dissertation examines the efforts of a targeted group of HBCU presidents who have excelled in the philanthropic enterprise of fundraising for their institutions, achieving success in ways their fellow presidential peers have not. Due to a multitude of issues, HBCUs have historically been underfunded, and many are facing challenges from a resource development perspective. Because of this chronic issue, the area of fundraising strategies utilized at certain HBCUs is important to address.

To gain greater insights, my multiple case study examined seven HBCU presidents, their fundraising strategies and approaches. My findings point to very consistent practices among the HBCU presidents interviewed. They each established a clear vision for their institutions and their fundraising priorities and were focused on getting their key constituents behind the vision. A few of the key themes which emerged involved the importance of developing and executing strategic organizational plans, based on research, data and metrics, and the importance of building effective internal and external relationships to advance HBCU fundraising programs. Overall, the findings from my study provide a clearer understanding of fundraising at HBCUs from the point of view of seven HBCU presidents. HBCUs are staple institutions of the higher education landscape, educating nearly one-third of all African-Americans in the U.S. (NCES, Fast Facts, 2019). Therefore, it is critical that these institutions continue to not only survive but thrive.


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