Title page for ETD etd-08122008-135432

Type of Document Dissertation
Author Reany, Candace Hall
Author's Email Address creany@vt.edu
URN etd-08122008-135432
Title The Sound of Silent Partners A Study of Charitable Choice and the Perceptions of Nonprofit Leaders Regarding the Effects of Government Funding on Religiously-Based Nonprofit Organizational Mission
Degree PhD
Department Environmental Design and Planning
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Stephenson, Max O. Jr. Committee Chair
Dawkins, Casey J. Committee Member
Koebel, Charles Theodore Committee Member
Rothschild, Joyce Committee Member
  • Harry Hutson
  • government funding
  • professionalization
  • nonprofits
  • faith-based
  • Barry Dym
Date of Defense 2008-07-29
Availability unrestricted
This study examines the relationship between government funding and faith-based nonprofit organizational development and professionalization. By conducting an online survey of 1,632 executive directors at Habitat for Humanity affiliates in the United States, followed by telephone and email interviews with selected leaders from the organization, this mixed-method case study examined the organizational tensions, opportunities, bureaucratization, and professionalization of a religiously-based nonprofit as it transitioned from primarily private funding to broad acceptance of public monies. Habitat for Humanity provided an excellent prospect for this research, as the organization announced one year before the study began that its 27-year tradition of not seeking or accepting government funding (with the exception of grants for infrastructure) would change in July 2006. The study utilized Barry Dym and Harry Hutson’s stages of organizational development, particularly their concept of professionalization, as an analytical framework for the study, with particular emphasis on the potential effects government funding may have on Habitat’s organizational structure. The study suggested a close relationship between increasing professionalization at the organization’s national office and the decision of national leadership to allow local affiliates to pursue government funding for construction. In addition, survey and interview data indicated that this change has been accompanied by a corresponding decrease in emphasis on religious mission, or at least a less conservative (and in some cases more pluralistic) approach to religious aims, than was evident in a 1995 International Partner training session in which the researcher participated.
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