Degree Date


Document Type

Dissertation - Public Access

Degree Name

Ph.D. Doctor of Philosophy

Academic Discipline

Community Psychology

First Advisor

Bradley Olson

Second Advisor

Tiffeny Jimenez

Third Advisor

Judah Viola


Community-Based Organizations (CBOs) have become the source of delivery for a number of social and health-related services in many communities. CBOs provide needed services in some of the most resource-poor communities. The moniker of community-based implies that these organizations are located within specific communities in order to provide services to community members. As organizations that have bloomed within communities to respond to particular community needs continue to grow and receive government funding, a primary funding source for many CBOs, questions arise about how responsive they remain to their surrounding communities. Funder mandates and foci may become more critical to CBOs than community responsivity as they become dependent on government funds to sustain services. Also, many CBOs become proxy unelected representatives with policy-makers and external stakeholders for their communities.

Due to the sparse literature on best practices for geographic community engagement by service delivery Community-Based Organizations, this study builds on a pilot that explored the reliability and validity of a perception of community engagement tool. The Perceived Community Engagement Survey (PCES) was developed to explore to what extent a CBO is perceived as genuinely engaging the broader community. A Principle Axis Factoring Analysis was run on an expanded sample for possible replication of pilot reliability and validity results. The PCES has been found to be a reliable and valid tool across an expanded sample and adds to the literature on community engagement by CBOs. A three-stage model has presented itself from six initially hypothesized areas that is both contiguous, from initial to full engagement, and qualitatively different, from “listening” activities to power-sharing. The PCES holds promise for further exploration and adaptation for use with community members and change in approach, from perception to objective measures.