Nonprofit Boost

On Sunday, the Washington Post inquired: “Can nonprofit organizations boost a regional economy?

The impact of a nonprofit is frequently gauged by the reach and effectiveness of its services. But beyond their power to help and support a community, can these organizations provide fuel to rev a regional economy?

In Montgomery County, at least, a new report concludes that nonprofit groups have indeed played an important role in boosting the labor market and the broader economy [...] The report shows that nonprofit workers in Montgomery comprise 10 percent of the county’s labor force and earned a collective $2.2 billion in wages in 2011.

Funded by Nonprofit Montgomery, an affiliate of the Nonprofit Roundtable, the study also “found that the county’s nonprofits have $4 billion in purchasing power” and that they showed considerable resilience during the recession, posting an increase in sector employees from 2007 to 2011 — a period during which the overall number of employees in the county dropped.

Similarly, the study revealed that local nonprofits can fuel economic recovery indirectly as well. For example, adult literacy services enable residents to “qualify for a job, fill out an application or even simply navigate the bus system, all of which can boost one’s chances of earning wages.” And arts and culture nonprofits can direct consumers to nearby restaurants, retail stores, and even parking garages.

What are the other key byproducts of a healthy nonprofit sector? Share your thoughts with us.

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