School of Behavioral Sciences


Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology (PhD)


Natalie Hamrick


Transformational Leadership, Cross-Sector Collaboration, Charitable Foundations, Community Catalysts, Organizational Change, Community-Based Change, Leadership Institute, Integrated Leadership Strategies, Qualitative Case Study


Leadership Studies | Psychology


This study investigated the integrated impact of Transformational Leadership (TFL), Cross-Sector Collaboration (CSC), and Foundations as Community Catalysts (CFC) within a Salem-based leadership institute. Through a qualitative case study involving 12 leadership institute attendees from 2020-2023, I explored the perceived presence of each of the three components, as well as their transformative potential in organizational and community change. I also examined participants’ perceived strengths and weaknesses of the leadership institute. All participants were able to see the presence of TFL, CSC, and CFC, and their combination resulted in collaboration, deep relationships, and a change in mindsets. The findings suggest that the TFL component of the programming fostered positive culture change and trust; that CSC aspects provided a space for trust and vulnerability, which facilitated meaningful and impactful changes in the community; and are all facilitated by the philanthropic approach of CFC involving deep and pure intent, a solid reputation and influence in the community. Among the most prominent community changes include the development of a behavioral health program within a career technical high school in the area, and the revitalization of a community-wide youth festival that had ended and lost funding several years ago. Participants also acknowledged that long-lasting impact takes time, but they were excited about the potential. Participants considered the strengths of the Leadership Institute to be valuable vulnerability/relationships, accountability, the ability to address community problems, the impactful retreat and monthly sessions, and alumni involvement/opportunities. Weaknesses included the desire for more time/going deeper, requesting greater demands on participants, a more specific organizational focus, concerns over long-term sustainability, and improved mentoring/coaching. This study lays the groundwork for future research, emphasizing the transformative potential of collaborative leadership, community engagement, and philanthropic initiatives. It underscores the impactful role of integrated leadership strategies in societal progress, advocating for ongoing research and application in varied settings to foster profound societal change.