Date of Award



© 2019 Deanna Edmiston

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)



First Advisor

Brianna Parsons

Second Advisor

Erin Connor

Third Advisor

Murphy E. Hawkins


Although nonprofits have done much to aid both orphans and those who live in extreme poverty, the difficulties associated with these social problems can be challenging to overcome. Attempts to reduce such problems are frequently addressed by various government entities. However, these social problems still exist, and nonprofit organizations often fill the gaps to address the social problems that remain. Generally, leaders of nonprofit organizations acknowledge that those in their care need help, and this mission is often the organization’s highest priority. In doing so, however, nonprofits may concern themselves with transactional activities which may not produce transformation. Such transactional activities may create a handout atmosphere, rather than life transformation. As nonprofits attempt to meet needs, understanding the problem of how care ethics relate to transformation is critical. This purpose of this study is to gain insight into how leaders of a nonprofit organization perceive the role of the ethics of care as they aim to transform the lives of those they serve. This qualitative narrative study builds upon the existing body of knowledge in order to gain a deeper understanding of how a nonprofit applies the ethics of care in these unique social environments. The primary research question in this study is: How does the ethics of care play a role in the transformation of clients served by nonprofit organizations? Two participants from the same nonprofit organization participated in this study. Data from participants was collected during an initial interview and a follow-up interview. The data collected followed the lenses of the ethics of care, needs, and transformation. It was discovered that nonprofit leaders employ the ethical elements of the ethics of care in their work to educate children from these unique social settings. In addition, these leaders apply relational elements of leadership, particularly higher-level responses, to spark transformation in their clients. Recommendations from this study include the reinforcement of education, moral values, and physical activities for children. In addition, supplemental caregiver education is highly recommended, as caregivers generally spend more time with these school-aged children—the nonprofit clients—than the nonprofit does.


Ed.D. Dissertation

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