Rawlings School of Divinity


Doctor of Education in Christian Leadership (EdD)


Gary Bredfeldt


Authentic Leadership, Venture Philanthropy, Fundraising, Christian School


Education | Educational Leadership | Leadership Studies


This multiple case study explored the influence that authentic leadership has on venture philanthropy in five, Christian, K-12, non-profit schools in the United States. The research was conducted using a multiple case study method through qualitative interviews with the venture philanthropists of each Christian school. In this study, venture philanthropy at a Christian school was defined as the provision of a collective gift total of $1 million or more in cash assets, the provision of strategic assistance through a close funder-fundee relationship, serving on the school’s board of trustees or in an advisory role, and the implementation of social and financial performance criteria. The first theory guiding this study was authentic leadership as defined by Bruce J. Avolio, William L. Gardner, Fred O. Walumbwa (2005), and Bill George (2003). The second theory guiding this study was venture philanthropy as defined by Dr. Tamaki Onishi (2015). The study revealed that authentic leadership (AL) influences venture philanthropy in Christian, K-12 schools. Participants ranked passion, self-discipline/consistency, Christian values/ethics, and relationship connectedness as the most desired AL attributes among their Christian school leaders. The research data also revealed that participants desire school leadership that exudes excellence, competence, commitment, stewardship, mission-focused, and a leader in whom the venture philanthropist can have trust and confidence. Furthermore, the research data suggests that the leader’s relationship connectedness contributes to improving stewardship, Christian values/ethics contribute to earning the venture philanthropist’s trust and confidence, and self-discipline/consistency and passion contribute to being mission-focused.