Nonprofits are key to economic recovery and reform

By Karthick Ramakrishnan | April 11, 2020

Did one of your family members need medical attention this week? Did a friend speak to a crisis counselor, or a did a neighbor need help accessing a food pantry? If so, thank a nonprofit worker.

The nonprofit sector does not typically get much attention or respect when it comes to economic strategy and development. New research that our Center put out shows that would be a mistake. There are over 90,000 nonprofit organizations in Southern California, and they range from large hospitals and universities, to food pantries and storefront churches.

Most nonprofits do not have the kinds of assets or revenues worth boasting about, or even merit filing a detailed tax return. Even these small nonprofits, however, have volunteers who play a critical role in building and maintaining community; the kind of community that makes sure that people don’t fall through the cracks and easily find the help they need. This might not sound like economic development, but the workforce and economic benefits of ensuring social cohesion and community well-being are enormous and incalculable.

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