This paper explores the link between nonprofit financial support and the service quality of city park systems. Specifically, this research constructs a longitudinal dataset and utilizes the fixed effects model to empirically investigate the relationship between nonprofit financial support for major US city parks and service quality. The findings show that the level of nonprofit financial support to city parks has a positive relationship with two major indicators of city park service quality: the size of parkland and the public access to parks. However, a small statistically significant relationship is found for the number of playgrounds in parks and the level of nonprofit financial support. This research contributes to the theoretical understanding of government–nonprofit relationships which heavily emphasize the resource flow from park-supporting charities to governments. It also improves our empirical knowledge of the general associations between public service provision and nonprofit organizations in urban areas.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
The NSC model from Brecher and Wise () presents a pattern of governance between nonprofit organizations and governments primarily in the context of public parks. In this model, nonprofits serve as a private funding source for a role that is already assumed by a public agency, with the money mostly derived from philanthropic sources such as private donations and individual contributions (Brecher and Wise ). The NSC model has been applied to a case study of New York City’s public parks by Brecher and Wise (). This theoretical model has not yet been applied to any quantitative empirical studies. In this study, we use the NSC model to guide our regression testing with an emphasis on the financial resource flow from the park-supporting charities to public park services. Specifically, we examine the following research question: what is the relationship between financial support from park-supporting charities and the service quality of major US city park systems?
- Government–nonprofit relationships
- Nonprofit support
- Public service quality