Sustainability Strategies in Michigan's Nonprofit Human Service Agencies: A Qualitative, Exploratory Study

Sustainability Strategies in Michigan's Nonprofit Human Service Agencies: A Qualitative, Exploratory Study

Author: 
Theresa Y. Edwards
Program of study: 
D.B.A.
Abstract: 
The specific problem is that Michigan’s human service agencies experienced a 27% program reduction due to lack of funds. This qualitative, exploratory study explored the sustainability strategies of nonprofit directors managing human service agencies in a Michigan urban county. The qualitative research question that guided this research and reflected the methodology identified what specific sustainability strategies are used by nonprofit executive directors managing human service agencies? The two sub-questions explored how nonprofits executive directors managing human service agencies define sustainability strategies and the major challenges of financial sustainability common among nonprofit executive directors. The study included eleven open-ended interview questions, from a purposeful sample of nonprofit human service executive directors. Onsite, telephone, and email interviews captured the participant’s experiences and identified sustainability strategies. Using NVIVO 9 software to analyze the transcribed data of the participants resulted in emergent themes related to the phenomena. The six themes were (a) financial security, (b) board involvement, (c) employee involvement, (d) completion issues, (e) external environment challenges, and (f) financial challenges. The study data might be helpful with helping human service leaders better understand how to develop, adopt, and implement shared sustainable strategies.
Dedication: 
I dedicate this dissertation to my children, Shontenique, Jamyrin Jr., Mariah and my husband, Jamyrin Edwards for believing in me, being supportive and understanding during my doctoral journey. I also dedicate this dissertation to my mother and father, the late Carolyn Ann Penny and Grant Graham. Last, I want to extend a special dedication to the late, Mr. Kenneth DeVitto for making my educational journey possible.
Acknowledgements: 
There have been moments during this dissertation process where I questioned my reason for enduring this hard journey. In those moments of doubt and fear there were individuals who encouraged me, pushed me, showed me unconditional love while reminding me that I could do this. I would like to acknowledge my best friends, Patrick J. Garth, Sachaka Lewis and Charnice Alexander for always knowing what to say to get me back on track. Next, I want to send a huge acknowledgement to my Dissertation Chair and mentor, Dr. Rhonda Franklin for her encouragement, patience, leadership, and guidance. I would also like to thank my committee members, Dr. Virginia Trevizo Wells and Dr. Grania Gothard Holmes for their time, commitment, patience, and valuable feedback. Last, I could not have made it this far without the support of my family and friends.