Rhinehart, M. (2019). “International House, Where Charlotte Welcomes the World:” A Case Study of an Immigrant-Serving Nonprofit in an Emerging Global Gateway City, 1980-2010. Unc Charlotte Electronic Theses And Dissertations.
The city of Charlotte saw a substantial increase in international diversity beginning in the late 1980s. Since that time, the city developed into what is termed a Global Gateway City, becoming home to a population that is 16.4% foreign-born. Paralleling the city’s growth resides the history of a cross-culture focused nonprofit known as International House, whose mission is to provide a sense of belonging and connection to the integrating international population. This thesis tracks the growth of International House and its interaction with the city of Charlotte, the state of North Carolina, and the United States immigration policies from 1980-2010. Broken down into three sections, this work looks at the origins of International House, its International Visitors Program, and the creation of the Immigration Advocacy Program. Within each of these programs, this work demonstrates the increased interconnectedness of the city, business leaders, and the economic and social opportunities International House provided in bridging the foreign-born population to the native Charlotte community. Within this intermediary role as a community nonprofit promoting cross-cultural relations, at times the organization is faced with obstacles in a rights-based advocacy for immigrant populations. This thesis looks at how mezzo-level organizations interacted and become increasingly connected with its city’s economic, political, and social agenda. Further, this thesis suggests the inherent limitations associated with a cross-culture based mission. It analyzes how various programs and actors facilitated or constrained nonprofits’ initial goals and missions. This historical perspective reveals how both International House and programs in Charlotte designed for internalization and immigration inclusion changed over time, revealing themes of economic development, immigration concerns, and immigration policies and responses.