Increasingly the health and welfare needs of individuals and communities are being met by third sector, or not-for-profit, organizations. Since the 1980s third sector organizations have been subject to significant, sector-wide changes, such as the development of contractual funding and an increasing need to collaborate with governments and other sectors. In particular, the processes of 'professionalization' and 'bureaucratization' have received significant attention and are now well documented in third sector literature. These processes are often understood to create barriers between organizations and their community groups and neutralize alternative forms of service provision. In this article we provide a case study of an Australian third sector organization undergoing professionalization. The case study draws on ethnographic and qualitative interviews with staff and volunteers at a health-based third sector organization involved in service provision to marginalized community groups. We examine how professionalization alters organizational spaces and dynamics and conclude that professionalized third sector spaces may still be 'community' spaces where individuals may give and receive care and services. Moreover, we suggest that these community spaces hold potential for resisting the neutralizing effects of contracting. © 2009 SAGE Publications.