Critical Components of Mississippi Community College Foundations

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Educational Studies and Research

First Advisor

Arthur Southerland

Advisor Department

Educational Studies and Research


The purpose of this study was to examine the fundraising and alumni activities of Mississippi community colleges to determine what critical components led to successful fundraising and what components were detrimental to fundraising. Five fundraising components in Mississippi community colleges were examined: characteristics of the community colleges, participation of the president, importance of marketing institutional identity, the role of alumni and friends, and donor identification and cultivation. The results of the study were developed by conducting a thorough review of related literature, using the findings of previous studies on community college fundraising, surveying foundation directors with a questionnaire about the five areas of fundraising previously mentioned, and personally interviewing the foundation directors to acquire additional information about their fundraising practices. The sample for the study was the 14 Mississippi community colleges that have foundations. This study suggests that community colleges in Mississippi have the ability to raise money from private sources. Even though their foundations are relatively young, some substantial endowments have been created by the community colleges to provide additional funding. The quality of educational programs provided by community colleges has played a large role in their ability to raise money from private sources. With the ever-increasing use of technology, educational costs continue to rise. Without private source funding, it will be continually harder for these colleges to maintain or increase the level of educational excellence that helps them to raise funds. Keeping the president of the college involved increases the chance that they will participate in development activities in a constructive manner and that funding will be provided for fundraising activities. This could eventually help to increase the small staff sizes of Mississippi community college foundations and improve their ability to efficiently raise private funds. Having a marketing or public relations program that communicates the mission, goals, and needs of the college appears to be essential to success in fundraising. This helped to encourage the involvement of local businesses and business people on boards and in volunteer groups for the college, which appeared to improve fundraising.