Paper Type

Doctoral Dissertation


College of Education and Human Services

Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership (EdD)



First Advisor

Dr. Katherine L. Kasten

Second Advisor

Dr. Joyce Jones

Third Advisor

Dr. Henry Thomas

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Rick Chant

Department Chair

Dr. Jennifer J. Kane

College Dean

Dr. Larry G. Daniel


The nonprofit sector plays a vital role in the quality of life in any community. Challenges such as economic fluctuations, the organization’s image in the community, and adverse legislative policies threaten the vitality of organizations. It is incumbent upon nonprofit leaders to help their organizations overcome these challenges. It is therefore important to understand leadership characteristics and practices of organizations that achieve a high-level of performance and have the ability to overcome threats to their success. The purpose of this mixed-method study was to examine the nonprofit sector in northeast Florida, identify a selected sample of high-performing organizations, and understand the relationship between the paid and volunteer leaders. Using quantitative methods, data were collected on 108 nonprofit organizations located in the Jacksonville Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA), a 5-county region including Baker, Clay, Duval, Nassau, and St. Johns. The data included demographic information such as financial statistics, longevity of service, and service areas provided by these organizations. The qualitative component of this study included data gathered through interviews with elite informants and nonprofit leaders. Elite informants were interviewed to identify a selected sample of high-performing organizations in northeast Florida. Interviews were conducted with 37 paid executive leaders and volunteer board members from the sample of 10 nonprofit organizations. As a result of these interviews, nine leadership characteristics and practices were identified as characteristic of high-performing nonprofit organizations.