Connect with Maureen
Berner teaches evaluation and analysis courses for MPA students and provides similar training and advising to state and local government officials throughout North Carolina. Her personal research focuses on the ability of local organizations to address food insecurity, poverty, and income inequality. Berner has worked with nonprofits, food banks, local governments, and state agencies. Berner was a 2014–2016 University of North Carolina Thorp Engaged Faculty Fellow, a Visiting Scholar with the University of Ghent in Belgium in the fall of 2017, and recipient of numerous academic awards.
In the News
Official poverty statistics dramatically underestimate the level of true poverty in the population. A more realistic measure is the level of demand on community-based social service non-profits such as food pantries, which have seen dramatic increases for the last 20 years indicating a more worse economic state for the average household than imagined.
Introduces students to the methodological tools public administrators and policy analysts use to conduct research in the twenty-first century.
Discusses organizational capacity research, which is limited by its focused on larger organizations, mostly ignoring the tens of thousands of front-line community-based non-profits and volunteer-run organizations which comprise a vital part of the national social safety net.
The typical visitor to a food pantry does not necessarily represent the stereotypical image of a destitute individual, but rather a wide variety of people in a wide variety of circumstances, who often make too much to qualify for public benefits but not enough to get by.
Using data from a large midwestern food pantry, we find working actually makes clients more likely to rely on charity food assistance, long-term, not less. This suggests that working creates enough of a burden that some jobs may make it harder to get by, not easier.