Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Public Policy & Administration

First Advisor

Saltanat Liebert

Second Advisor

Sarah Jane Brubaker

Third Advisor

Nancy Stutts

Fourth Advisor

Faedah Totah


When a person is forced to flee their home due to violence or the fear of persecution, they must seek refuge elsewhere – either within the borders of their home country or in a new country. Those who travel to another country in search of safety and protection are known as refugees, and as world conflicts continue, the number of refugees around the world is steadily increasing. As refugees integrate into their new communities, they often receive support from nonprofit organizations once government assistance has ceased. This mixed method study uses 60 open-ended, first-person interviews with refugees and nonprofit service providers, participant observation, and a secondary data analysis of nonprofit mission and goal statements to explore the needs of refugee populations in a southeastern city in the United States, compare and analyze how nonprofits in this area are interacting with and providing services to their refugee clients, determine the extent to which the refugees being served perceive the nonprofit’s services to be effective, and determine the extent to which refugees feel that their needs are being met. Findings indicate that refugees and nonprofit service providers typically gauge the effectiveness of nonprofit services in very different ways, with refugees measuring effectiveness as the extent to which a nonprofit helps its clients, and with service providers measuring effectiveness as the extent to which a nonprofits meets its mission and goals; thus, creating specific mission statements that are aligned with client needs is crucial for nonprofits. Findings also showed that refugees may be hesitant to fully express their needs to service providers due to cultural barriers and/or the fear of being a "burden", and that informal methods of soliciting refugee perspectives may help service providers better assist their refugee clients. The data also indicate that nonprofits that engage in collaborations with other nonprofits and governmental agencies, provide refugees with increased access to ESL classes, and ensure that refugees have ample opportunities to engage with other members of their community typically see more positive outcomes as their refugee clients seek to integrate.


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