Community foundations have considerable potential for positive social change in the communities they serve yet are understudied in nonprofit management and leadership literature. Recently, community foundations have become one of the largest avenues of organized philanthropy. The boards of community foundations frequently consist of a different composition of members than other nonprofit organizations, making a focus on individual characteristics of board members a worthwhile area of study. This exploratory study considers board capital through human capital, structural capital, and social capital and the impact this has on board effectiveness. In addition, it considers the impact of servant leadership on board effectiveness. The purpose of the study is to assess capital and leadership factors of community foundation board members and examine their influence on perceived board effectiveness. Based on survey data from 71 community foundation board members and executive directors representing 13 different community foundations associated with the Florida Philanthropic Network, the dissertation uses ordinal regression to test hypotheses. Additional data was also collected with follow up focus groups. The study finds that board capital, measured by human capital, structural capital, and social capital, as well as servant leadership, do play a factor in board effectiveness. Further, community foundation boards in the survey population are highly effective, and have unique attributes that make them distinct from other types of nonprofit boards. Follow up focus groups suggested that, although board members define board effectiveness in a number of ways, boards are creating social change within their communities in different ways. Findings have potential for significant insight on an important segment of nonprofit sector organizations, particularly for strengthening communities through philanthropy.
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Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
College of Health and Public Affairs
Public Affairs; Public Administration
Length of Campus-only Access
Doctoral Dissertation (Open Access)
Obyrne, Lauren, "The Impact of Board Capital and Servant Leadership on Board Effectiveness: A Study of Florida Community Foundations" (2016). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 4976.