Funding Immigrant Organizations: Suburban Free-Riding and Local Civic Presence

52 Pages Posted: 15 Jul 2012 Last revised: 13 Sep 2014

See all articles by Els de Graauw

Els de Graauw

Baruch College, CUNY

Shannon Gleeson

Cornell University - School of Industrial and Labor Relations

Irene Bloemraad

University of California, Berkeley - Department of Sociology

Date Written: 2012

Abstract

Community-based organizations have been central to providing publicly-funded services to poor populations since the War on Poverty and they have long been at the heart of immigrant integration in traditional gateway cities. But given a “new geography” of poverty and immigration in the United States, how are newer immigrant gateway cities and suburbs responding to foreign-born residents, especially the disadvantaged? Existing research focuses on political exchange models to explain public-private partnerships: local officials make rational funding decisions to achieve political goals, and localities differ based on whether they are politically progressive or more conservative. This paper goes beyond political calculations and ideology to argue that taken-for-granted notions of deservingness and legitimacy affect funding, even in politically progressive places. Comparing a traditional immigrant gateway city, a 21st century gateway city, and two suburbs in the San Francisco Bay Area, we use Community Development Block Grant data and a database of formally registered nonprofit organizations to document significant inequality in resource allocation across these three types of destinations. To understand the mechanisms behind these inequalities, we draw on documentary evidence and 142 interviews with local government officials and leaders of community-based organizations. We outline how a history of continuous migration builds norms of inclusion and civic capacity for public-private partnerships. We also identify the phenomenon of “suburban free-riding,” a strategy whereby suburban officials rely on the resources and services of central cities to rationalize the absence of partnerships with their own foreign-born residents. The analysis affirms the importance of distinguishing between types of immigrant destinations, but argues that this should be done through a regional lens, as proximity to central cities provides even progressive suburban officials with opportunities for free-riding.

Keywords: immigrant, nonprofit, city, suburb, social services, government, CDBG

Suggested Citation

de Graauw, Els and Gleeson, Shannon and Bloemraad, Irene, Funding Immigrant Organizations: Suburban Free-Riding and Local Civic Presence (2012). APSA 2012 Annual Meeting Paper, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2107385

Els De Graauw (Contact Author)

Baruch College, CUNY ( email )

One Bernard Baruch Way
Box B 5-280
New York, NY 10010
United States

Shannon Gleeson

Cornell University - School of Industrial and Labor Relations ( email )

Ithaca, NY 14853-3901
United States

Irene Bloemraad

University of California, Berkeley - Department of Sociology ( email )

410 Barrows Hall
Berkeley, CA 94720
United States

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Downloads
43
Abstract Views
560
PlumX Metrics