Date of Award




Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Department of Sociology

Content Description

1 online resource (xv, 228 pages) : color illustrations, color maps

Dissertation/Thesis Chair

Nancy Denton

Committee Members

Angie Chung, Beth Popp-Berman


Community-Based Organizations, Ethnic Adaption, Segregation, Territoriality, Community organization, Poor, Immigrants

Subject Categories

Ethnic Studies | Organizational Behavior and Theory | Sociology


As we move into the 21st century, racial and ethnic segregation remains a dominating force in American Cities. Segregated black and Hispanic communities are known to suffer not only from a lack of resources, compared to non-Hispanic white neighborhoods, but also from a distinct sense of parochial isolation. At the same time, nonprofit community-based organizations (CBOs) have gained an increasingly central role in providing basic services to the urban needy. As of yet, there has been no systematic study to explore how segregation impacts the operation of CBOs. This dissertation employs a mixed methods research strategy to examine CBOs in Northern New Jersey to determine how the city and neighborhood effects of segregation impacts the operation of these organizations. Through the use of spatial analysis and longitudinal analysis, I find that segregated black neighborhoods correlate with large concentrations of CBOs. This belies the expectations within the literature that these communities should be resource deprived, suggesting that that the long-term disadvantage of segregated black neighborhoods attracts CBOs. Next, interviewing 42 CBO staff members divided between Newark, NJ, known for its high levels of segregation, and Jersey City, NJ, known for its low segregation, I find that the context of segregation within Newark pushes CBOs to be more territorially attached to the neighborhoods they are based within. However, my interviews also note there are limitations to the influence of segregation. CBO staffers in both cities find great challenges in accommodating their services to meet racial/ethnic needs. These findings carry important implications. On the one hand, the way segregation divides where organizations locate, and how they connect to neighborhoods, means that the provision of services is divided from place to place. On the other hand, this implicit acknowledgement of the racial divide on the part of CBOs effectively reinforces segregation.