Existing research on the distributional impacts of nonprofits and philanthropy focuses on how different groups directly benefit from nonprofit service providers. Given the increasing roles nonprofits play in public service provision and urban governance, it is critical to examine how the nonprofit sector may influence the distribution of public services. Combining the literature from urban affairs and nonprofit studies, we propose a theoretical framework to articulate various pathways through which communities with a larger nonprofit sector may create favorable conditions for public services to be distributed to certain racial–ethnic groups. We further test this framework using a unique geospatial dataset of public park access by different racial–ethnic groups in 2,392 U.S. cities. Our findings indicate that communities with a higher density of park-supporting nonprofits generate better park access for all racial–ethnic groups. However, more benefits accrue to whites than to other racial–ethnic groups.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
We thank Kirsten Mickow at the Trust for Public Land for sharing the park access dataset. We also thank Tian Tang, the participants of the 2020 PAR Symposium on ?Beyond Representative Bureaucracy: Race, Gender, and Social Equity in Governance?, the guest editors and three anonymous reviewers for their helpful comments on this article.
© 2022 by The American Society for Public Administration.