Theses and Dissertations

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


King, Stephanie B.

Committee Member

Brocato, Donna K.

Committee Member

Wiseman, William M.

Committee Member

Davis, James E.

Date of Degree


Document Type

Dissertation - Open Access


Community College Leadership

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


College of Education


Department of Leadership and Foundations


Community colleges generate only 2% of the total charitable funds raised by higher education institutions in the United States. In an era when America needs its community colleges to be active public sector partners in economic development and workforce training, state funding has been drastically cut, and other traditional funding sources are not making up for the much-needed funds. Forward thinking community college leaders must turn to their foundations as an important revenue source to offset the impact of budget cuts and sustain educational excellence and accessibility. But with limited resources for each institution to employ a professional fund raising staff, it is unclear if state system foundations can create programs to help bridge the gap for individual community colleges. The purpose of this study, guided by the organizational theory of examining an organization’s performance as part of an entire system and not individual factors, was to examine multi-year trends of public community colleges in the states of Virginia and Maryland that have participated in the Voluntary Support for Education (VSE) survey between the years of 2007-2012. The study was limited in scope, but could be the foundation for a broader framework of study to determine the fundraising significance and impact of state-level system community college foundations and the vice presidents of institutional advancement that lead them. The study consists of a review of available literature on institutional advancement in higher education and the quantitative study of data collected over a 5 year period through the VSE survey. Independent sample t-tests were used to determine if the mean difference on a particular group characteristic was statically significant for each dependent variable. The findings of the study did not affirm that having an experienced vice president of institutional advancement leading a state-level foundation leads to greater success in terms of private funds raised by community colleges of various sizes and resources within the system. However, this is the first known study to compare community college fund raising from a state-level approach, therefore the researcher concludes that increased emphasis on building a state-wide culture of philanthropy for community colleges is needed.



state-level systems||higher education||community college||fundraising