About Me - Francisco J. Santamarina

Hello! I am Francisco, a PhD Candidate at the Evans School of Public Policy & Governance at the University of Washington. My goal is to explore avenues of interdisciplinary research to shed light on both theoretical and empirical challenges using cutting-edge methods and datasets. My focus is on the nonprofit sector in the United States and the international development sector globally. I am exploring both in my dissertation research, which focuses on rationalization (or the formalization of processes) and its potential effects for organizations. I use qualitative, quantitative and mixed methods in my research, and have been working extensively to implement machine learning and natural language processing (NLP) techniques in this research space.

My Work and Research

My previous publications have explored:

  • standards and codes of conduct for NGOs to explore how they discuss and present impact evaluation requirements
  • nonprofits through their mission statements to identify how community political affiliation is present or not in the work that they perform

My work to use nonprofit mission statements as a source of data has expanded tremendously with the advent of electronically-filed annual nonprofit tax returns or IRS 990 files, which must be made public by U.S. law. I have been contributing to and affiliated with efforts to clean and transform that data since 2016, around the time when the IRS responded to a lawsuit to make that data available. Since then, legislation was passed mandating that all 990s be filed electronically (which is still phasing in), and the IRS has also made various other kinds of affiliated files publicly available.

With my colleagues Jesse Lecy and Eric van Holm, we have begun to leverage this data to explore the relationship between gentrification and nonprofits.

I am beginning to explore with my advisor Mary Kay Gugerty how COVID-19 has affected the prevalence of “theory of change”-type requirements for nonprofit funding.



In my time at the UW, I have gone beyond the Evans School to take coursework in the Economics, Sociology, and Computer Science & Engineering departments. I have attended the weekly eScience Community Seminar (now the UW Data Science Seminar) since Spring 2019, at which I gave a 2020 presentation on machine learning NLP applications to nonprofit text data.

I received an M.S. in Public Policy & Management from the Evans School upon completion of my required coursework and my Major Area Paper, a literature review that contributed heavily to my prospectus. Before then, I complete an MPA from the Maxwell School of Syracuse University, a BA in Religion from Emory University, and an AA from Emory’s Oxford College.

Personal and Professional

After graduating from undergrad, I spent time traveling and exploring the world (ex. driving from Seattle to Argentina with my brother; living and working in Hawaii) before working at Epic Systems in Madison, WI as a healthcare billing IT implementer and then as a consultant with Booz Allen Hamilton, in Washington, D.C., where my client was the U.S. Department of Transportation. While in D.C., I volunteered with some nonprofits and began developing research questions that have fueld my graduate studies and research to this day.

Affiliated Communities

Research Projects

I have contributed to projects affiliated with the Nonprofit Open Data Collective, a multi-organization and multi-sector initiative to download, clean, and process electronically filed IRS 990 forms, and some affiliated documents (ex. 1023-EZ files).

I also have created a guide to identifying EINs in efiler data, to determine if organizations that an individual is investigating or exploring has electronically filed IRS 990 forms that are available in existing datasets. The guide is available here, and the affiliated GitHub repository here.


For the past several years, my academic “home conference” and community has been ARNOVA, the Association for Research on Nonprofit Organizations and Voluntary Action. In addition to attending and presenting at the annual conference and being a founding member of the Data and Analytics Section, I have attended the conference as a Graduate Diversity Scholar (2018 and 2019) and participated in the Doctoral Fellows Workshop (2020). I have attended and presented at the West Coast Nonprofit Data Conference for several years as well.

More recently, I have joined ISTR, the International Society for Third-Sector Research. In the 2021 annual conference, I participated in the PhD Seminar as well as gave a presentation and moderated a panel. I have also joined ASPA, the American Society for Public Administration, and attended the 2021 conference. I recently joined PMRA, the Public Management Research Association, and have had research projects presented at or accepted to the annual conference.

For more information on my presentations, please navigate to my CV or the presentations page.

Website Template Info

This website was built using the academic pages GitHub repository as a template, which I forked from to create the repository for this page. To quote the template, “More info about configuring academicpages can be found in the guide. The guides for the Minimal Mistakes theme (which this theme was forked from) might also be helpful.”