Institute for Migration & Ethnic Studies

The Local Embedding of Community-Based Organizations

By Floris Vermeulen, Debra Minkoff and Tom van der Meer


Although social organizations are considered a vital aspect of life in neighborhoods, research seldom examines how neighborhood context influences organizational vitality. This article considers how organizational and neighborhood characteristics influence organizational survival over time via a case study of immigrant organizations in Amsterdam. Using multilevel analysis, we investigate which features give organizations an advantage in uncertain environments and which neighborhood characteristics influence organizations’ ability to remain active sponsors of immigrant interests. We conclude that neighborhood context has little substantial influence on the failure rates of immigrant organizations in Amsterdam. We take this as provisional evidence that the residential environment on the neighborhood level may not be a relevant source of institutional material or resources for community-based organizations. Rather, what appears to be more crucial are organizational characteristics that enhance the embeddedness and legitimacy of immigrant organizations among the immigrant constituency and external actors in the urban context.


Neighborhood effects, immigrants, organizational legitimacy, Amsterdam

Publication details

Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly (2016), 45 (1), 23-44. doi: 10.1177/0899764014558933

Published by  IMES

11 April 2016