Erwin de Leon and Gem Daus. 2018. “Filipino American Political Participation.” Politics, Groups, and Identities 6(3): 435-452.

This paper describes initial findings from our ongoing research on Filipino American political participation. We seek to understand why, despite its long history and considerable number in the U.S.A., the group remains politically invisible. We interviewed 33 politically active community members to gain information and insight on how and why Filipinos engage politically (or not). Most of the interviewees indicated that the main mode of participation among Filipinos is voting, and that they tend not to support political campaigns with financial contributions or volunteer time, which may partly explain the group’s lack of visibility and clout. Interview respondents discussed various influences on Filipino engagement: their family and peers, their personal relationship with a political candidate, the alignment of personal values with a candidate’s values, the church and other community organizations, and their economic interests. We believe that these factors are not mutually exclusive and additional research is necessary to understand how these various influences interact to motivate Filipinos. We also learned about barriers to political participation and share suggestions on ways Filipinos can gain visibility. Our study provides information and understanding of Filipino American political participation which may inform future research and theorizing on their political incorporation.


Erwin de Leon and Joseph Schilling. 2017. Urban Blight and Public Health: Addressing the Impact of Substandard Housing, Abandoned Buildings, and Vacant Lots. Washington, DC: Urban Institute.

We spend more than 2/3rds of our time where we live; thus, housing and neighborhood conditions invariably affect our individual and family’s well-being. The health impacts from blighted properties—substandard housing, abandoned buildings, and vacant lots—are often not immediately visible or felt. This report—Urban Blight and Public Health—synthesizes recent studies on the complexities of how blight affects the health of individuals and neighborhoods while offering a blend of policy and program recommendations to help guide communities in taking a more holistic and coordinated approach, such as expanding the use of health impact assessments, tracking health outcomes, and infusing public health into housing policies, codes and practices.


Brent Never and Erwin de Leon. 2017. The Cost of Accountability for Small Human Service Contractors.” Human Service Organizations: Management, Leadership & Governance 41(2): 1-13.

Human service contractors are an integral part of producing public services. Performance contracting over 30 years has increased accountability measures in order to mitigate transaction costs. Here we address whether the focus on accountability increases unreimbursed costs, something that is particularly harmful to small nonprofit contractors. Using a national survey of the government-nonprofit relationship, conducted by the Urban Institute in 2010, along with lagged financial indicators, we find that nonreimbursed costs associated with accountability harm human service nonprofits.


Nathan Dietz, Erwin de Leon, Saunji Fyffe, Daniel Kuehn, Marcus Gaddy, and Juan Collazos. 2016. An Assessment of the Local Initiatives Support Corporation’s Financial Opportunity Centers. Washington, DC: Urban Institute.

This project assesses the impact of financial and employment counseling services offered by Financial Opportunity Centers (FOCs) at AmeriCorps sites operated by LISC (Local Initiatives Support Corporation).The assessment used propensity score matching to compare short-term changes in economic and financial outcomes for LISC clients with changes observed for comparison group members. The results suggest that FOCs tend to have positive short-term impacts on employment and wages, negative impacts on credit score outcomes, and positive impacts on net worth. Cost analysis suggests that FOC services deliver short-term wage-differential benefits to jobless clients that narrowly exceed the costs of delivering the services.


Erwin de Leon. 2015. “Gay and Racial/Ethnic Identities, Perceived Discrimination, and Participation in Collective Action.” Ph.D. diss., The New School.


Erwin de Leon and Priya Saxena. 2015. Housing and Education Partnerships: A Case Study of Akron, OH. Washington, DC: Urban Institute.

Housing authorities are in a unique position to support educators, low-income students, and their caregivers outside the school day. This study describes the partnership between the housing authority and school district in Akron, Ohio. Akron’s housing and education partnership has been developing along two tracks: the Early Childhood Initiative (ECI) is a set of programs and supports offered to young children living in AMHA developments and their families; and the Reach Opportunity Center at Summit Lake is a community-based education resource center that is owned and operated by AMHA and APS.


Erwin de Leon. 2014“Asian Labor in Alaska” in Xiaojian Zhao and Edward J.W. Park, Eds., Asian Americans: An Encyclopedia of Social, Cultural, Economic, and Political History. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO.


Brent Never and Erwin de Leon. 2014. The Effect of Government Contracting on Nonprofit Human Service Organizations: Impacts of An Evolving Relationship.” Human Service Organizations: Management, Leadership & Governance 38(3): 258-270.

Governments contract with human service nonprofits to provide services in complex environments (Frahm & Martin, 2009). This article builds on the robust literature of public contracting for human services, but considers the effect of contracting on the contractor rather than the government. Using the National Survey of Nonprofit Government Contracting and Grants, conducted during the financial recession, we consider how contracting practices are harming trust. We find that human service nonprofits are more likely to cut salaries and jobs due to having government contracts, leading one to question whether the partnership mode of contracting will remain effective.


Rikki Abzug, Alexandre Olbrecht, Murray Sabrina, and Erwin de Leon. 2014. “Nonprofit Financing to the Rescue? The Slightly Twisted Case of Local Educational Foundations and Public Education in New Jersey.” Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly 45(1) 133–149.

Scholars have suggested myriad characterizations of the relationship between organizations of the nonprofit sector and government. We expand upon Young’s “slight twist” of the economic supplementary view of government/nonprofit partnership to develop a model to explain the variation in levels of funding by local educational foundations (LEFs) in New Jersey public school districts. Seeking to better understand this private financing of public education, we empirically test for correlates of these funding variations using Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Form 990 data. Although we could not empirically verify an inverse relationship between state aid to education and level of LEF granting, we did find some evidence of a direct relationship between such private financing and median household income. Our analysis supports a more historically nuanced explanation of the role of LEFs in New Jersey public education.


Marla McDaniel, Margaret Simms, William Monson, and Erwin de Leon. 2014. “The CUNY Fatherhood Academy: A Qualitative Evaluation.” Washington, DC: Urban Institute

Knowing the economic challenges young fathers without postsecondary education face in providing for their families, New York City’s Young Men’s Initiative launched a fatherhood program housed in LaGuardia Community College in spring 2012. The CUNY Fatherhood Academy (CFA) aims to connect young fathers to academic and employment opportunities while supporting them through parenting classes and workshops. This report summarizes Urban Institute’s qualitative evaluation of the program. The evaluation, completed under contract with the New York City Center for Economic Opportunity, focuses on CFA’s design, implementation, and participant outcomes in the four cohorts served between March 2012 and December 2013.


Erwin de Leon. 2013. Montgomery County Nonprofit Contracts and Grants. Washington, DC: Urban Institute.

Federal, state, and local governments provide resources to nonprofits to deliver services on their behalf, and the main vehicles for this relationship are government contracts and grants. Contracts and grants processes present challenges, and governments and nonprofits - and ultimately their shared constituency - stand to gain by working together to improve the system. This brief describes how community-based organizations and a local government have come together to begin streamlining the process. Government representatives and nonprofit leaders in Montgomery County, Maryland, were interviewed to get a better understanding of contracting issues from both perspectives as well as solutions formulated by those involved.


Erwin de Leon, Sarah Pettijohn and Evan Nemoff. 2013. Maryland: A Working Model of Nonprofit and Government Collaboration. Washington, DC: The Urban Institute.

Governments depend on nonprofits to supply public services while nonprofit providers rely on government funding. This arrangement manifests itself through contracting and grants processes which are laden with problems that affect both nonprofits and governments, and ultimately, impact people being served. A number of state governments and their nonprofit partners have begun to address issues through initiatives such as streamlining task forces, online procurement systems, and document repositories. This case study documents the efforts of nonprofit leaders, government agencies, and elected officials in the State of Maryland to address problems and streamline a disjointed and complicated contracting and grants system.


Erwin de Leon and Robert Roach. 2013. Immigrant Legal Aid Organizations in the U.S. Washington, DC: The Urban Institute.

Any enacted immigration reform legislation that is comprehensive in scope will include a path to legalization for the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants in the United States. Based on the U.S. Senate bill passed in June 2013, the Congressional Budget Office projects about 8 million people will be eligible for regularization of status, most of whom will likely turn to nonprofits for legal assistance in maneuvering the process. Are there enough immigrant-serving organizations providing legal aid to meet the surge in demand when immigration reform finally happens? This brief begins to answer the question while posing additional ones. 


Erwin de Leon. 2012. National Indicators and Social Wealth. Washington, DC: Urban Institute.

In The State of Society, measures of national well-being that go beyond gross domestic product (GDP) are identified. Existing indicators and systems are found lacking in assessing the full economic value of caregiving and the contributions of women. This report presents the results of a meeting of leading experts on national indicators convened by the Urban Institute and the Center for Partnership Studies. Participants considered the strengths and weaknesses of existing indicators that measure social wealth, identified measures that need to be developed, and made recommendations for the placement of social wealth indicators in U.S. National Key Indicator System.


Erwin de Leon, Sarah Pettijohn and Carol J. De Vita. 2012. Community Services Block Grant Administrative Expenses. Washington, DC: Urban Institute.

Funders want to know that their funds are being used for the purposes intended and are being spent efficiently and effectively. This is especially true when resources are constrained. This report reviews literature on measuring administrative expenses and analyzes the administrative expenses associated with the Community Services Block Grant (CSBG). The administrative expenses of Community Action Agencies that administer CSBG funds are compared to those of similar nonprofit organizations. The studys findings suggest the need for greater clarity and consistency regarding administrative expenses across federal guidelines; greater training and technical assistance for financial officers who prepare reporting documents; and possibly different benchmarks regarding acceptable levels of administrative expenditures based on size of organization.


Carol J. De Vita, Margaret SimmsErwin de Leon, Saunji Fyffe, Elaine Morley, Carolyn O’Brien, Monica Rohacek, Molly M. Scott and Sarah Ting. 2012. Implementation of Community Services Block Grant Under ARRA. Washington, DC: Urban Institute.

Under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), $1 billion was provided to the Community Services Block Grant (CSBG) network to supplement existing CSBG funds to alleviate the causes and conditions of poverty in local areas and develop strong, healthy, and supportive communities. This report presents the findings of an extensive evaluation to document the services, promising practices, and challenges that emerged during the CSBG ARRA initiative. ARRA represented an unprecedented infusion of funding, accompanied by increased monitoring and accountability. The lessons learned have valuable implications for CSBG and the CSBG network. Fieldwork was conducted in California, Georgia, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New York, Oklahoma, Virginia, and Washington.


Erwin de Leon and Elizabeth T.  Boris. 2012.  Social Wealth Indicators Workshop Background Report. Washington, DC: Urban Institute.


Erwin de Leon. 2011The Right Funds for Reinvestment.” Voices in Urban Education (32): 30-41.

Current economic and social realities make it hard for public education to thrive and succeed, but organizations that support public education are helping many communities reinvest in our shared future.


Erwin de Leon. 2011. “PILOTs: A symptom of changing nonprofit-government relations?” The Provider (32): 7.


Erwin de Leon. 2011. Nonprofit-Government Contracting in the Nation’s Capital: Challenges and Opportunities. Washington, DC: Urban Institute.

Findings from the Center on Nonprofits and Philanthropys National Survey of Nonprofit-Government Contracting and Grants show that a majority of human service organizations in Washington, D.C. are struggling due in part to challenges posed by working with the government in providing programs and services to District residents. At a forum of nonprofit leaders and government representatives, participants confirmed the studys findings, shed light on issues unique to the city, and proposed initial recommendations to address some contracting challenges.


Stephanie Geller, Alan Abramson, and Erwin de Leon. 2010. “Communiqué No. 20: The Nonprofit Technology Gap – Myth or Reality?” Johns Hopkins Listening Post Project.

Investigates whether nonprofits been able to integrate sophisticated technologies into their operations and use such technologies to support and enhance delivery of their programs and services. Also examines what variations, if any, exist by organizational size, age, service area, and field, and what challenges are limiting nonprofits’ use of information technologies and preventing them from using such technologies effectively.


Elizabeth T. BorisErwin de Leon, Katie L. Roeger, and Milena Nikolova. 2010. Contracts and Grants between Human Service Nonprofits and Governments: An Overview. Washington, DC: Urban Institute. 

This brief summarizes results of the 2010 National Survey of Nonprofit-Government Contracting and Grants, a study of human service organizations designed to document the extent of nonprofit-government contracting, processes and problems. It also examines the impact of the recession on these organizations and the cutbacks they have made to keep their programs operating. While contracting problems are not new, many are exacerbated by the deep recession that has reduced government budgets and private contributions. Nearly 33,000 human service nonprofits have government contracts and grants, and 9,000 organizations with expenditures over 100,000 were surveyed for this study.


Elizabeth T. BorisErwin de Leon, Katie L. Roeger, and Milena Nikolova. 2010. Human Service Nonprofits and Government Collaboration: Findings from the 2010 National Survey of Nonprofit Government Contracting and Grants. Washington, DC: Urban Institute.

This report explores the results of the 2010 National Survey of Nonprofit-Government Contracting and Grants, a study of human service organizations designed to document the extent of nonprofit-government contracting, processes and problems. It also examines the impact of the recession on these organizations and the cutbacks they have made to keep their programs operating. While contracting problems are not new, many are exacerbated by the deep recession that has reduced government budgets and private contributions. Nearly 33,000 human service nonprofits have government contracts and grants, and 9,000 organizations with expenditures over 100,000 were surveyed for this study.


Elizabeth T. BorisErwin de Leon, Katie L. Roeger, and Milena Nikolova. 2010. National Study of Nonprofit- Government Contracting: State Profiles. Washington, DC: Urban Institute.

This compilation of state profiles from the 2010 National Survey of Nonprofit-Government Contracting and Grants, provides national and state-by-state snapshots of human service organizations that have contracts and grants with local, state and federal governments. The individual state profiles are designed to document the extent of nonprofit-government contracting, processes and problems. They also examine the impact of the recession on these organizations and the cutbacks they have made to keep their programs operating. States are also ranked according to number of grants, types of issues, and actions taken by human service nonprofits to address the challenges they face.


Erwin de Leon, Katie L. Roeger, Carol J. De Vita, and Elizabeth T. Boris. 2010. Who Helps Public Schools? Public Education Support Organizations in 2010. Washington, DC: Urban Institute.

There are more than 19,000 nonprofit organizations devoted to supporting public education in the United States. These organizations include booster clubs, parent-teacher groups, public education funds, scholarship funds, high school alumni associations, and others. This report assesses the current status of education support organizations; provides details on the activities, capacities, and resources of public education funds; and compares Public Education Network member organizations with other types of education funds. On the basis of a survey of public education funds and an analysis of the latest data available from the National Center for Charitable Statistics, the report identifies key similarities and differences among the groups.


Erwin de Leon and Elizabeth T. Boris. 2010. The State of Society: Measuring Economic Success and Human Well-Being. Washington, DC: Urban Institute.

This study provides an overview of a broad range of existing measures that go beyond gross domestic product (GDP) to offer a more complete and accurate picture of how a society and its economy are faring. Based on a review of the literature and an analysis of major arguments and rationales for moving beyond GDP as a measure of national well-being, this report identifies 14 categories of national well-being. It synthesizes hundreds of indicators found in 28 reports that present alternative indices and systems of well-being into 79 indicators organized under these categories.


Erwin de Leon, Matthew Maronick, Carol J. De Vita and Elizabeth T. Boris. 2009. Community-Based Organizations and Immigrant Integration in the Washington, D.C. Metropolitan Area. Washington, DC: Urban Institute.

This study examines immigrant integration through the lens of community-based organizations. Based on interviews with nonprofit leaders and an analysis of data from the National Center for Charitable Statistics, the study found that immigrant-serving nonprofits provide a wide range of programs and services to foreign-born communities which promote the social and political mobility of newcomers. Findings also suggest a potential spatial mismatch between immigrant-serving organizations and the people they serve. The organizations are concentrated in the metropolitan area while immigrant populations are growing in the outer suburbs. Moreover, different political and administrative structures and policies affect the ability of these nonprofits to serve their constituents.