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Journal of Public Management & Social Policy

Abstract

This article examines the role of similarity-attraction between African American-led nonprofits and the predominately African American youth they serve. Informed by interview data with executive directors, board members, volunteers, and students, this research captures how similarity-attraction operates in the context of three, well-established African American-led nonprofit organizations by utilizing an old-school values approach. The findings suggest that each of these programs provides a direct focus on African American history and positive role models. Further, these programs teach African American youth how to excel while being black, from people who know first-hand what that experience entails. Nonprofit program leaders become trusted sources of advice and, ultimately, build self-confidence in the youth they serve. Given the limited research that focuses on African American-led nonprofits, this research illuminates an important, understudied area in nonprofit studies.

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