Institutionally-related foundation boards: Processes and perceptions of performance

Gail E Fraser, University of Pennsylvania


This dissertation is a qualitative study using the case study method of inquiry designed to learn more about what factors contribute to the fundraising performance of institutionally-related foundation boards of public masters colleges and universities. Public institutions of higher education have set up nonprofit foundations that are responsible for raising and stewarding private funds. These foundations have an independent board of directors, separate from the university's board of trustees. In some cases, the boards are responsible for only managing the assets of the foundation, but in most cases, they must raise funds as well. In fact, that is their primary responsibility. In today's environment where government support is not keeping pace with the financial needs of higher education institutions, raising private funds and building endowments are more important than ever. Therefore, the role of the foundation board has become even more critical. Underrepresented in the higher education literature, however, is research that explores ways to improve the performance of institutionally-related foundation boards. This research was based on case studies conducted on the foundation boards at two public masters universities: Kean University and East Stroudsburg University. Both of these universities have foundation boards that have recently begun to take a leadership role in fundraising at their institutions. This study found that factors which have been identified in the literature as having an impact on board performance of corporate and nonprofit boards may also apply to institutionally-related foundation boards. More specifically, this research indicates that board composition, board leadership, goal-setting and opportunities for board members to make a meaningful contribution are key to foundation board performance.

Subject Area

School administration

Recommended Citation

Fraser, Gail E, "Institutionally-related foundation boards: Processes and perceptions of performance" (2006). Dissertations available from ProQuest. AAI3209994.