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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Fund Development and Donor Race: How Colorblindness and a 'Sales Mentality' Delimits Expanding the Donor Base
by Jensen-Ives, Johanne, Ph.D., The University of Arizona, 2019, 235; 13863738
Abstract (Summary)

This qualitative case study examined the practices used by higher education development professionals and institutions to better understand how a donor’s race is considered as part of the fundraising process.  It employed a Critical Race Theory (CRT) framework (Delgado, 2001) designed to combine the scholarship on fund development and race. The central frames of color-blind racism (Bonilla-Silva, 2006) were key organizing concepts for the analysis of findings in this study. Additionally, this research used concepts of White savior ideology (Cammarota, 2011) and poverty porn (Collin, 2009) to interpret the messages and language used in the higher education development field. To provide context for this study, the concept of academic capitalism (Slaughter & Rhoades, 2004) is engaged relative to the pressure higher education development professionals may experience connected to their fundraising efforts. This study employed several qualitative methods for gathering data which consisted of interviews, document analysis, and observation. Findings revealed that development officers utilized a colorblind approach or a one size fits all method for their fundraising, which maps on to several of the four central frames of color-blind racism (Bonilla-Silva, 2006). The findings from this study also suggest that the growing ‘sales mentality’ and pressure to generate more revenue for big campaigns is fueling a development environment where fundraisers are being conditioned to desire a donor who is White and familiar with the philanthropic process; therefore not taking up too much of their time. Institutional, practical, and research-oriented recommendations and implications are presented to inform the work of higher education advancement professionals. This research contributes to the scholarship in CRT, but also provides new empirical based scholarship on a topic that was previously unexplored between higher education fundraising and race.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Rhoades, Gary D.
Commitee: Cabrera, Nolan L., Deil-Amen, Regina J., Kraus, Amanda
School: The University of Arizona
Department: Higher Education
School Location: United States -- Arizona
Source: DAI-A 80/09(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Education finance, Higher Education Administration
Keywords: Colorblindness, Fund development, Fundraising, Higher education, Philanthropy, Race
Publication Number: 13863738
ISBN: 978-1-392-15724-4
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