Date of Award

Spring 2024

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Public Administration (DPA)


Public Policy and Administration

Committee Chairperson

Angela Kline, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Kristen Crossney, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Ernie Post, D.Ed.


This dissertation investigates the impact of social, navigational, familial, aspirational, and resistant capital on the ability of small business owners in Pennsylvania to access relief funding during the COVID-19 pandemic, primarily the period from March 2020 to December 2020. Utilizing Dr. Tara Yosso’s Community Cultural Wealth framework, the study explores systemic barriers within relief initiatives and how they affect marginalized communities.

To meet business owners where they were, and to utilize technologies born as a result of the pandemic, this study utilized Asynchronous Video Interviews (AVI) and online surveys, to capture the lived experiences of these small business owners. Not only would AVIs provide convenience and accessibility to the business owners, but they would also provide insight on their use as a medium for future research opportunities. The interviews focused on the challenges of navigating complex processes, what tools were available, and who they relied upon as a support network – aligning with Yosso’s six forms of cultural capital.

The findings highlight the importance of navigational and social capital in overcoming institutional hurdles, proposing policy and practice reforms to enhance equitable access to financial resources and technical assistance. This study contributes to the fields of public policy, entrepreneurship, and economic development, advocating for a more inclusive approach to disaster relief funding and economic development.