West Virginia University Research Corp

Contact Information

FY 2018 Community Conversations Research

Executive Summary

Nonprofit organizations serve as a key mechanism of civic engagement, volunteering, and community improvement in the United States. Any attempt to understand how communities respond to disasters, crises, and other problems, then, must include an understanding of nonprofit organizations' role in that response. The project proposed here, Assessing the Nonprofit Sector's Response to the West Virginia Opioid Crisis, would (1) assess the extent to which West Virginia's nonprofit sector is responding to the opioid crisis, (2) specify precisely how the nonprofit sector is responding to that crisis, and (3) identify the factors that facilitate or hinder the responsiveness of the nonprofit sector to the crisis.

This collaborative project between researchers at West Virginia University and a community partner who is highly engaged in the state's addiction and opioid crisis will collect multiple forms of data. First, a state-wide survey of a sample of public charities and religious congregations will be conducted to assess how these organizations are responding to the opioid crisis. Second, a database will be constructed from a wide variety of existing data sources that will allow the project to assess how much the opioid crisis has been associated with the creation of new nonprofits in the state of West Virginia. Third, qualitative interviews with 25 nonprofit organizations will be collected to provide more depth to our understanding of how nonprofits are or are not responding to the opioid crisis.

The project will produce several outputs designed to disseminate the research findings to distinct audiences. First, at least three scholarly articles will be published from the collected data. Second, a summary report directed towards the general public and key stakeholders will be produced and released through the communications office of West Virginia University, distributed to organizations participating in the survey, and disseminated through the project's community liasion's networks. Third, at least one op-ed article will be written and submitted to a media outlet based on the findings of the study. Fourth, a presentation will be made at the West Virginia Nonprofit Leadership Summit, the annual meeting of state nonprofit leaders organized by the West Virginia Nonprofit Association.

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