Masters Theses

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science



Major Professor

Micheline van Riemsdijk

Committee Members

Stephanie A. Bohon, Ronald Foresta


The devolution of welfare services in the United States has increased the importance of the nonprofit sector. Geiger and Wolch argue that decentralization has left nonprofit organizations (NPOs) under the purview of the state. They refer to this as the “shadow state.” Trudeau argues for a more nuanced view of the shadow state in which governmental agencies and NPOs are highly interdependent. This research expands on the findings of Trudeau by extending the shadow state construct to the individual. I examine the role of refugees in the shadow state construct and their ability to affect government policy through participation in NPOs and find that refugees do indeed play a role in the shadow state. Through feedback, experience and, most importantly, by becoming part of the organization, refugees can have an impact on refugee services through participation in NPOs.

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