Nonprofit Continuum: Brazilian-centered Organizations in the Bay Area of San Francisco

Caroline Rehill


Brazil has always been a country of immigration. Since the mid 1980s, Brazil has also become a country of emigration. Brazilians have come to the United States in large numbers throughout the past decades. In the host country, Brazilians have the same issues inherent in any immigrant community, such as immigration status, education, health, and socio-economic issues. To address this issues and ease immigrants’ stay in the host country, nonprofit organizations and community groups are created. This thesis project examines, identifies, categorizes, and contextualizes the Brazilian-centered nonprofit organizations in the Bay Area of San Francisco. Contrary to existing research on Brazilian immigrants in the United States, this study has found that, in the past forty years, Brazilians have formed voluntary associations ranging from small and informal groups to larger, professionalized, registered nonprofit organizations – what I call the nonprofit continuum. Based on data collected from six months of research, this thesis explains the ‘nonprofit continuum’ and answers the question: How are Brazilian-centered nonprofit organizations and groups addressing the migratory issues (immigration, socioeconomic, educational, cultural, and health issues) facing Brazilian communities in the Bay Area of San Francisco? Although mostly culture and arts groups have existed in the Bay Area since 1968, for over one decade, Brazilian-centered organizations have changed their focus and began to provide social and economic services to the Brazilian immigrant communities.