Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


School of Education


This qualitative study examines the ways in which the leadership and staff of four community-based organizations in a high-poverty African American community in Chicago perceived and were impacted by economic, political, and social changes in their community from 2007 to 2011. During a time of economic hardship caused in part by the state's budget crisis that threatened their very survival, these nonprofits connected residents with community institutions, government, and church in response to their needs.

Processes of acquiring resources and capital, prioritizing the needs, shifting programs and people for maximum benefit, and finally shedding expendable programs and people for the greater good of the organization and according to its mission were employed. Race was determined by African American leadership to be a determining factor for the acquisition of financial support, and white leadership was more confident about approaching funding sources than were African American leaders. One implication of this study is that racism, both real and perceived, fosters mistrust, which has been shown to inhibit the acquisition and accumulation of capital among African Americans. Another implication points to the capacity of organizational leadership to employ creative strategies for access to various forms of capital as they adjust to changing economic, political, and social environments.

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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.

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