Community Based Organizations


Patricia Marrone Bennett, Angela Sun, Melissa Moore, Bill McConnell


To provide fellows with an understanding and appreciation of the unique organizational characteristics of the non-profit sector and community based organizations.


  1. Understand the characteristics of community-based organizations
  2. Understand and appreciate their unique organizational culture, mission and values, funding streams, and governance structures.
  3. Understand the organizational challenges and opportunities they face
  4. Appreciate the role of diversity in CBO organizational life
  5. Apply acquired knowledge to working with partner community based organizations
  6. Understand the role of government agencies in the CBO landscape

Generalizable Principles

  • Non-Profit community based organizations are mission driven and share unique characteristics
  • There are many different types of non-profits and CBOS
  • Non-profits have their own organizational culture that stands apart from other organizations such as academia, or governmental organizations.
  • It is best to situate yourself as a member of the organization and understand their specific challenges and opportunities.


Teaching Tips/FAQ

For this short course, it helps if the facilitators have a heavy background in community-based settings as opposed to academics.  It’s best if instructors can use examples from their partnering agencies to illustrate the information from the course.

Field trips to non-profits – a range of different types – will help participants understand the different characteristics and types of non-profits.  Additionally, hearing more from people who work in non-profits will boost participants’ understanding of the nuances of different CBOs.

Finally, Be aware that some participants may not be interested in pursuing a career in community based organizations, and therefore they may not seem to be interested in learning about how CBOs function.  However, in order to facilitate constructive collaboration in CBPR, it is important for participants to have a basic understanding of how their community partner organization is structured.

Contact Info

Patricia Bennett,
Angela Sun,
Melissa Moore,
Bill McConnell,