Ken Goldstein, MPPA

Ken Goldstein has been working in nonprofits and local government agencies from Santa Cruz, to Sacramento, and back to Silicon Valley, since 1989. He's been staff, volunteer, board member, executive director, and, since 2003, a consultant to local nonprofit organizations. For more on Ken's background, click here. If you are interested in retaining Ken's services, you may contact him at ken at

Thursday, October 12, 2006

The economic impact of nonprofit organizations

When you work in the nonprofit sector, you will occasionally speak to people who are a) shocked that you get paid to do "charity work" and b) act as if your work, while well-meaning and good, is an economic drain on the community.

At those times, it's good to have an idea of the true, positive impact our sector has on the community. Not just in terms of the people served in fulfilling our missions, but in the size of our sector as a part of the business community.

A new report from the UCSB Economic Forecast Project has completed that task for San Luis Obispo County. Among the findings:
  • Nonprofits contribute more than $260 million ($242 million plus an additional $20 million impact on construction spending) annually to the county's economy.
  • Nonprofits employ more than 2,700 county residents. In total, about 4,000 jobs were supported because of local nonprofit activity.
  • Taxes totaling at least $23.8 million were generated as a result of nonprofit spending.
  • As well, the 99 nonprofits surveyed - of the more than 1,000 organizations in the county - for the study reported more than 20,300 volunteers.
This is a great resource that should be duplicated for each county and city in the State. For a list of reports completed by the UCSB Economic Forecast Project (some with downloads) see their web site.

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