Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Political Science


Faculty of Arts

First Advisor

David Docherty

Advisor Role

Thesis Supervisor


This thesis is a comparative analysis of three non-profit service providers and the effect of particular development traits on their degree of autonomy. The three non-profit providers examined in this thesis are all drop-in centres for street youth. Recent government cuts have demonstrated the clear relationship between autonomy and organizational survival of non-profit agencies. For years many have argued that the practice of relying on government funding depoliticized these organizations. many of which perform social justice work. Hence, from a political perspective. organizational autonomy has become an increasingly important issue. This thesis addresses the question of why some non-profit service providers develop into independent, self-reliant entities and others do not. The organizations examined were studied using a combination of Angelo Panebianco's genetic model and literature specific to non-profit organizations and their development. Long-term behavioural patterns were examined through a longitudinal overview of fundraising and policy making practices. This mode of analysis yields a unique means of understanding why some non-profit organizations. as a result of their degree of autonomy, are less effected by environmental changes, than others.

Convocation Year


Convocation Season