Date of Award

Winter 1997

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Urban Services - Urban Education

Committee Director

Maurice Berube

Committee Member

Wolfgang Pindur

Committee Member

Dana Burnett

Committee Member

Rebecca S. Bowers

Committee Member

Donna B. Evans


This study examines patterns of giving among the corporate foundations in Virginia and select others which have a significant presence in Virginia. The purpose is to better understand how and why they give as they do. In addition to investigating trends in giving, the amounts given, and motivations for giving, the study compares these data with prior research that has indicated corporate favoritism toward private and public "specialized" or "elite" higher education (Reich, 1992; Council for Aid to Education, 1994). "Specialized" is defined by the Council for Aid to Education as medical schools and science research institutions. One utilitarian purpose of this study is to provide corporate development administrators, specifically at Old Dominion University, with insight and practical advice and guidance when dealing with fund-raising issues regarding corporate foundations.

The literature views the motivations for corporate giving in roughly three theoretical frameworks: (a) altruism in which corporations give because of a sense of social responsibility (Webb, 1992; Galaskiewicz, 1985); (b) profit maximization, in which corporations give to enhance their profits directly (Webb, 1992; Reich, 1992); and (c) mutual collective action, in which corporations give to organizations because they have something to gain (Unseem, 1985; Smith, 1991).

Using a sample size of 51 corporate foundations from Virginia and select others which contributed during 1993-94 to higher education in Virginia, a mailed three-page questionnaire was developed as the primary survey instrument. The survey instrument was adapted from one used by J. D. Marx (1994). In addition, 25 tax returns from 1993-94 were used in the analysis.

An ANOVA was conducted on the data related to giving patterns based upon information from the 1993-94 tax returns. This was used to establish a relationship between giving patterns to various categories of higher education and overall giving. Next, a correlational matrix was established using the input data from the survey. This showed if a relationship between the main variables outlined in the study coincided with the factors in the survey. Following the correlational matrix, a factor analysis procedure was conducted to analyze the respondents' factor loadings on the variables more thoroughly. From this, four factors emerged which are described as affecting corporate foundation giving to urban public higher education. Both altruism and profit maximization were evident in the responses as motivating giving, thus mutual collective action (both altruism and profit maximization acting together) was a factor. And among the smaller corporate foundations located in Virginia, geographic location was seen to be a factor affecting giving.


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