Date of Conferral





Public Policy and Administration


Karen Shafer


Lack of funding resources, inadequate staffing, poor capacity building, and difficulties in attracting individual donors are problems for small Black-led nonprofit organizations. Black women lead a majority of nonprofits in low socioeconomic and under resourced neighborhoods and have deep connections with and cultural awareness of community needs. However, little is known about how Black women leaders of nonprofits employ effective strategies to overcome funding and staff capacity challenges. The purpose of this study, which had resource dependency theory as its foundation, was to examine Black women nonprofit executives’ perceptions of obstacles in securing organizational funding and strategies for overcoming them. The research question focused on the perceptions of Black women nonprofit executives to securing funding to adequately lead organizations in under resourced communities. Data were collected from a purposive sample of 9 Black women nonprofit executive directors and senior executive staff who participated in semistructured, open-ended interviews. Thematic analysis involving inductive coding and categorization of interview data produced 3 key themes: Black women leaders emphasize adaptability and resiliency, fundraising practices are driven by resource dependency, and funding barriers are multilayered and structural. The key findings revealed Black women nonprofit executives employ multipronged approaches responsive to internal and external challenges. The implications for social change include informing public policy and grant makers of factors that impact nonprofits sustainability and the importance of expanding funding and capacity building resources to strengthen nonprofits in historically marginalized communities. Improved sustainability may redress historical inequities and promote social gains for the community members.