“I Didn’t Want to be a Burden”: Improving Interactions between Refugees and Nonprofit Service Providers


  • Brittany Keegan Virginia Commonwealth University




Refugees, Refugee Resettlement, Immigrant Integration, Nonprofits


As newly resettled refugees integrate into their new communities they often receive services from nonprofit organizations to supplement government assistance. However, there has been little research regarding how nonprofit service providers and refugees interact with one another and perceive these interactions. This qualitative study uses data gathered from 60 first-person, open-ended interviews with refugees and nonprofit service providers to fill this gap. The research questions are: How do refugees being served by nonprofits express their perceptions of the services they receive to nonprofit service providers? To what extent do refugees feel that nonprofit service providers are responsive to their needs? And, how do nonprofit staff and volunteers report responding to the needs of their refugee clients? This article is framed using empowerment theory, where refugee needs and perspectives are at the forefront of service provision decisions

Author Biography

Brittany Keegan, Virginia Commonwealth University

Brittany Keegan is the Director of Research and Outreach at the Center for Public Policy housed within Virginia Commonwealth University’s L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs. Her research interests include refugee integration, gender-based violence intervention and prevention, and the role of nonprofits in supporting those impacted by violence or conflict.






Research Articles