An Invisible Impediment to Progress: Perceptions of Racialization in the Nonprofit Sector

Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, Ahead of Print. Popular beliefs about the nonprofit sector suggest it as a place devoted to the public good on behalf of disadvantaged individuals and groups. This dominant view implies an organization’s success or failure as the result of individual decision-making, capacity issues, or inability to behave like successful organizations. This fuels a view of the sector as race-neutral where all organizations encounter the same challenges and in the same ways. In this article, I use interview data from a 2-year qualitative study of Black-led organizations in Madison, Wisconsin to examine how Black-led organizations perceive racialization in the sector and its impact on their work. Findings suggest that Black-led organizations perceive racialization in the sector across key areas understood as central to an organization’s operation: leadership, funding, data, collaboration, and volunteering. I conclude by calling for a more robust theory of racialization in the nonprofit sector that might vary by place.

Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly |  

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