Date of Award


Degree Type

Open Access Dissertation

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Educational Leadership and Policy Studies

First Advisor

Charles S. Hausman

Department Affiliation

Educational Leadership and Policy Studies

Second Advisor

LeAnn Beaty

Department Affiliation

Government and Economics

Third Advisor

James R. Bliss

Department Affiliation

Educational Leadership and Policy Studies


This study examined factors that influence partnerships between universities and nonprofit organizations. Specifically, the study examined how nonprofit leaders characterize “effective” University-Nonprofit Partnerships; strategies that nonprofit leaders have employed to develop effective relationships with universities; and barriers that nonprofit-leaders perceive as inhibiting these partnerships. The study utilized qualitative analyses to learn strategies that have contributed to effective University-Nonprofit Partnerships, to recognize barriers to these partnerships, and to identify strategies for overcoming the barriers. The study examined the experiences of seven nonprofit leaders who had worked in partnership with universities.

The results of this study show evidence that while University-Nonprofit Partnerships are effective avenues through which to respond to issues affecting both universities and nonprofits, this kind of partnership does not effortlessly come into being. These partnerships are particularly influenced by mutual trust and clear communication. Also impacting the effectiveness of the partnerships is a shared vision that recognizes and values the needs of each partner.

Recommendations for future research, based on inconsistencies in the literature compared to the information provided by the interview participants, are provided in Chapter 5.