Li GuoFollow

Date of Award

Spring 5-15-2014

Degree Type


Degree Name

PhD Higher Education Leadership, Management, Policy


Education Leadership, Management and Policy


Joseph Stetar

Committee Member

Eunyong Kim

Committee Member

Haiqin Bao


higher education philanthropy, third stream income, higher education finance in China, university foundation, fundraising, organizational change


The major purpose of the study was to identify significant organizational changes that have taken place in foundations of national Chinese public universities from 1999 to 2012. The study also attempted to explore major forces behind these changes. A secondary purpose was to seek for ideas on promoting higher education philanthropy in China by explore successful experiences in other countries.

To achieve the goals, this study: (a) started by identifying challenges on financing higher education in China as well as pointing out that the Chinese government and higher education institutions have begun to generate diversifying revenue sources including recently adopted third type of revenues generated by fundraising from private sources, namely higher education philanthropy; (b) next, this study employed a review of literature on understanding philanthropy in higher education as well as university related foundation which plays as the major channel for generating philanthropic income, with particular emphasis on understanding their development in China; (c) to better understand their development, particularly the organizational change, of university related foundations in China, this study used a qualitative multiple-case-study design along with implications from organizational change theories. The study analyzed interviews with staff members and examined documents of three foundations; (d) finally, this study reviewed higher education philanthropy in selected countries seeking for ideas on promoting university related foundations as well as higher education philanthropy in China at large.

Results of the study have not only (a) identified major features and development of university related foundations as well as higher education philanthropy in China, but also (b) illustrated important organizational changes of university related foundations (e.g., the establishment of secondary fundraising tier, investment committee, overseas fundraising arms, etc.) and the forces behind these changes (e.g., social forces, leadership from university leader, incentives from the State Government, and supervision from governmental bodies). Findings of this study also (c) confirmed the characteristics of organizational change suggested by theories which indicate organizational change can occur because of both internal and external factors. Based on lessons learned from international experiences, this study concluded with recommendations to university related foundations as well as the development of philanthropy in Chinese higher education in terms of both practice and research endeavors.