Meet Each Need with Dignity: Community and the Dynamics of Nonprofit Change in the Northeast San Fernando Valley

Michelle Gallarza : Sociology

Mentor: G. Cristina Mora, Sociology

The Northeast section of the San Fernando Valley is home to one of the largest populations of Latinos in the United States, second only to East Los Angeles. In contrast to the more well-known and affluent suburbs of the west Valley, this region faces issues stemming from poverty, residential segregation, environmental racism, and divestment. Meet Each Need with Dignity (MEND) is a poverty relief organization that has existed for over 40 years in the area's most vulnerable community known as Pacoima. Michelle's research seeks to uncover how this nonprofit organization has been able to renegotiate its role in the community over the past 4 decades, enacting growth initiatives with the goal of offering relevant and continued service to the community. Drawing reference from critical periods of change, this research analyzes the significance of innovation for MEND to adapt to the needs of the community and maintain a model of client empowerment over time.