Determinants In The Funding Of Black Minority Programs By Three Large Private Foundations

Date of Award




Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Educat.D.)


Interdepartmental Studies


Purpose. The purpose of the study was to analyze and describe the processes employed by three large, private, general-purpose foundations in reaching decisions about the funding of minority (black) programs during the time period 1973 through 1979.Procedures. Several criteria were used to select the following three foundations for study: the Rockefeller Foundation, the Ford Foundation, and the Carnegie Corporation of New York. Each foundation: (1) Had over $250 million in assets. (2) Was a private, general-purpose foundation. (3) Awarded grants during the time period 1973 through 1979. (4) Funded black organizations or black-oriented programs. (5) Funded programs nationally. (6) Played a major role in national policy-making. (7) Was considered a trend-setter in the foundation world. (8) Concentrated its efforts on shaping national goals and policy directions.Findings. Major grant awards to black programs were listed, and the operating philosophy of each foundation was analyzed. The manner by which programs were classified as "black" was described along with the inhouse processing pattern for proposals at each foundation. The key factors considered in funding a proposal were the "track record" of the organization or program director and their potential for leadership or effecting societal change. The foundation program officer was believed to be the most influential person in the decision-making process.Conclusions. The following conclusions were derived from the research findings: (1) The program officer in most cases is the first major advocate for a grant proposal and generally the most influential person in the funding decision. (2) The grant-making process is very thorough, highly competitive, minutely detailed, and time-consuming. (3) A sincere concern existed at the three foundations that proven civil rights organizations and black institutions of higher education continue their programs. (4) There appeared to be no essential differences in the manner by which black program proposals are processed and evaluated compared to all other proposals. (5) The better the understanding of the grant-making process by applicants, the better their opportunity of being funded.


Sociology, Ethnic and Racial Studies

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