Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Educational Leadership


Little is known about the way in which alumni of color think about and exercise giving to higher education (Gasman & Anderson-Tomkins, 2003). The majority of research in alumni giving to higher education has not highlighted the unique elements of philanthropy within communities of color, promoting the assumption that they are not philanthropic compared to their White counterparts (Newman, 2004). This is problematic considering shifting educational, labor and economic demographics which suggest that people of color are enrolling and graduating from college at higher rates; entering the work force, and have increasing buying power. Further limiting scholars’ and practitioners’ understandings of alumni of color giving patterns is the lack of qualitative studies on these populations (Drezner, 2011). This qualitative study utilized Oyserman’s (2009) identity based motivation theory (IBM) as a framework to design the study, collect, and analyze the data. Data collection involved semi-structured interviews and document analysis to explore the extent to which race, ethnicity, and other identities were salient among Latin@ young alumni, and the impact that identities had on their giving and voluntary behaviors. Data revealed that race and ethnicity are salient among Latin@ young alumni as a result of their social location, most notably family, language, and geographic location. This study found that racial and ethnic salience coupled with class salience influenced philanthropic behaviors among Latin@ alumni, highlighting the influence of multiple identities on giving and volunteerism. Class affinity, generally as a result of one’s undergraduate and alumni experiences, also shaped the participants’ inclination to support their alma mater. The combination of high identity salience and affinity for the institution illustrated individuals’ concept of philanthropy, a new but evolving connection to the way in which alumni anticipated future philanthropic support of their alma mater. The findings have implications for practice, policy, theory, and future research.

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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.