Community Organizational Resources and Children’s Well-Being


The Community Organizational Resources and Children’s Well-Being Project is an innovative research project from the School of Sociology of the University of Arizona, funded by the National Science Foundation.  The principal investigator is Professor Joe Galaskiewicz.


The first purpose of the survey is to identify gaps in service delivery in the wake of the Great Recession.  In the fall of 2013 and the spring of 2014 we will gather data on what children do on Saturdays, where they do it, if they are accompanied by adults, who provides the services or activities, and how satisfied parents are with the providers.  With the background data we collect, we can see 1) if children from different backgrounds and areas of the city do different things, and 2) which types of families are served by nonprofits, government agencies, for-profits, and congregations. In a 2003 study we found that there are significant differences across population subgroups.  We now want to know if the population changes, economic hard times, and the housing crisis that neighborhoods experienced affected what children now do on Saturdays and which providers they use.

The second purpose is to see what kinds of health care providers parents typically use for their children.  We are interested in the distances that families have to travel for health care and if this affects the kind of care they get, their delaying in getting healthcare, and their satisfaction with the health care providers.  We will also be gathering data on the location of all doctors’ offices, clinics, and hospitals in the Phoenix metro area, so we will know what areas are more likely to produce favorable outcomes than others.


Interviewers from the Behavior Research Center will call residences and cell phones at random during the day and evening and ask about the activities of one child.  Our target is 1,100 families with children between 5 and 12 years old.  The call will be anonymous and confidential.  The numbers of our respondents will be deleted from our files, and we will not ask any identifying information.  The interview should take between 10 and 20 minutes depending upon how many activities the child had on the previous Saturday.

Feedback to the Community

After we finish the surveys we will prepare a brochure like we did in 2004 summarizing our results (downloadable PDF here).  We will send the brochure to school districts, government agencies, foundations, and nonprofits which are concerned about the well being of our children.  In particular, we hope to point out gaps in the system and which population subgroups and areas of the metropolitan community are under-served.

Principal Investigator

Joseph Galaskiewicz is Professor of Sociology and has a courtesy appointment in the School of Public Administration and Policy at the University of Arizona. Prior to coming to Arizona he was Professor of Sociology in the College of Liberal Arts and Professor of Strategic Management & Organization in the Carlson School of Management at the University of Minnesota. He received his M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in Sociology from the University of Chicago. Click here for more background information and access to selected publications.

Professor Galaskiewicz currently does research on urban neighborhoods, the organizations that are located there, and families’ utilization of these facilities.  He is particularly a specialist on nonprofit organizations and philanthropy.  He wrote two books about the Minneapolis-St. Paul nonprofit sector.  The Social Organization of an Urban Grants Economy (Academic Press, 1985) looked at business philanthropy in the Twin Cities, and Nonprofit Organizations in an Age of Uncertainty (co-authored with Wolfgang Bielefeld) (Aldine de Gruyter, 1998) was a panel study of 229 nonprofit organizations from 1980 to 1994 looking at their growth, decline, and death.

The current project continues research that began in the Phoenix metro area in 2003 when Professor Galaskiewicz did a sample survey of 1,036 households and asked about what children did ‘last Saturday.’  He and his research assistants found that a significant proportion of children had no activities outside the home, and, among those that had activities, they found considerable variation in who provided these activities which depended upon the children’s gender, ethnicity, and income. The 2013 survey of families is a replication of the 2003 survey and seeks to see if anything has changed in the wake of the Great Recession.

He also has been collecting data on the all the nonprofits, for-profits, congregations, and government agencies that provided activities and services for children, and his research assistants have geocoded these data (i.e., mapped them).  They have data for 2003, 2007, 2008, and 2009, and they hope to collect these data for 2013.  Because the Great Recession was such an important part of the Arizona experience, Professor Galaskiewicz and his students want to see which neighborhoods suffered the most severe losses and which have recovered the quickest.  The idea is to provide insight into the dynamics of neighborhood change in the context of a crisis.

Professor Galaskiewicz has also done research on foundations’ roles in welfare reform in the U.S. during the 1990s, nonprofits’ mission statements, the ratification of international environmental treaties by countries around the world, nonprofits’ and churches’ political activities, NGOs in China, nonprofit trustees, and community based inter-organizational networks.


Joseph Galaskiewicz
Social Sciences Building, Room 400
PO Box 210027,
Tucson, AZ 85721-0027.
(520) 621-7084


Research Assistants:  Kate Anderson and Kendra Thompson-Dyck