Michigan Nonprofit Association Blog

MNA’s Blog is designed to give you, the nonprofit community, an informal look into the issues currently facing Michigan’s nonprofit sector and an opportunity to share tools, resources and best practices. It’s also a way for us to get to know each other a little bit better through candid discussions of the topics, challenges and opportunities that our sector deals with on a regular basis. Check back daily and participate in the discussions by posting a comment or emailing our bloggers. We love hearing from you!

Study: Nonprofits contribute $17.8 billion to economy annually in Southeast Michigan, Thumb

By Sherri Welch | October 26, 2017

  • Nonprofits in Southeast, Thumb regions of state contribute $17.8 billion in annual impact
  • New Independent Sector study finds nonprofits in those areas employ more than 240,000
  • Detroit data is first of national economic study focused on key congressional districts due next year

The nonprofit sector in Southeast Michigan and the state's Thumb area contributes about $17.8 billion in economic activity annually, according to new economic data released Thursday morning by Washington, D.C.-based Independent Sector. It's the first data from a national study due out next year.

Independent Sector released the the data, collected with assistance from North Carolina-based Implan Group, during its annual conference jointly hosted with the Michigan Nonprofit Association and the Council of Michigan Foundations taking place in Detroit through Friday.

According to the study, there are 3,500 501(c)(3) nonprofits in six congressional districts across the region. They employ more than 240,000 people, according to the report, the first part of a national study Independent Sector plans to release next year on the nonprofit sector's economic impact across the country.

Recognized as tax exempt by the Internal Revenue Service, 501(c)3 nonprofits include public charities, private foundations or private operating foundations. Charities with the designation are created for a range of purposes, including religious, educational, charitable, scientific, literary, testing for public safety, fostering of national or international amateur sports and prevention of cruelty to animals and children.

The metro Detroit numbers released as part of the study include congressional districts 9-14, an area covering parts of Wayne (including Detroit), Oakland, Macomb and Washtenaw counties and all of Huron, Lapeer, St. Clair and Sanilac counties in the state's Thumb area.

Nonprofits in congressional district 9, which covers much of Detroit, account for 30,403 of the sector's jobs in those six districts, according to the study. But district 14, which includes an eastern part of Detroit plus Grosse Pointe, Harper Woods, Hamtramck, Farmington Hills, West Bloomfield and Pontiac, has more than any other congressional district, with 65,171 nonprofit jobs, according to the newly released data.

The economic impact figures include employee compensation, proprietor income, tax on production and imports, payroll taxes and the value of volunteer time.

The total tax revenue generated by charitable nonprofits in those congressional districts each year is an estimated $947.7 million for the state and nearly $3.1 billion for the federal government, Independent Sector said.

"This data is proof that charitable organizations make a powerful and substantial economic contribution to their communities,"Independent Sector President and CEO Daniel Cardinali said in a release.

Understanding and using the data "is absolutely critical to the social sector making its case to policymakers, donors and the public," he said.

Independent Sector is a national organization with nonprofits, foundations and corporations among its members, working to advance the common good.