The Cost of Community-based Action Research
Examining Research Access and Implementation through the Food Dignity Project Community Support Package
There’s a world of difference between research funding awarded to institutions of higher learning and what goes for standard program support funding available to the average nonprofit community-based organization (CBO)—in particular, grassroots efforts defined and guided by the constituency living with the problems being addressed. Beyond a baseline difference between research grants that ask questions and program grants that provide services in response to identified needs, access to and internal functioning of research grants versus program grants are often diametrically opposed. On a practical level, research funding is far more likely than CBO funding to provide multiple-year support and large budgets that allow funds to be used for personnel and indirect costs. Very few research opportunities are offered directly to CBOs, with eligibility typically limited to colleges, universities, and other so-called institutions of higher learning. Yet, while CBOs are commonly shut out of major research funding pools at the outset, they are increasingly required to provide an approved “evidence base” to justify funding for the program services they provide. This requirement forces them to draw on information-gathering and analysis processes from which they are essentially excluded....
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