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Study Finds Oregon Nonprofits $13B Industry


A first-ever study of the state’s nonprofits sheds light on some astounding numbers for Oregon’s economy.

The report, released this week, was done by the Nonprofit Association of Oregon and Portland State University’s Institute For Nonprofit Management.

The report found Oregon nonprofits raised about $13 billion in revenue in 2010 — a sign they have a bigger impact than many people realize.

Among the findings: NPOs make up 13 percent of the workforce in Oregon, with health care at the top of the list. That’s a little over 160,000 jobs.

“The resources they are raising offset the resources that would otherwise be required from governmental agencies, and places that would probably cost a whole lot more to deliver those services,” Scott Cooper, executive Director of the Partnership to End Poverty, said Wednesday..

“A lot of those nonprofits are very active in trying to bring new resources from outside the region into Central Oregon, from the different foundations that are active,” Cooper said. “Those dollars end up getting spent with local businesses.”

The study’s findings come at a time when nonprofits, like so many, are doing more with less, attempting to meet the increasing demands for services.

Deschutes County saw a rise in applications received for community grants, totaling 62 applications this year compared to around 50 in 2011. Only 32 were granted.

“I think locally the nonprofits are feeling that it is a competitive environment,” said Ken Wilhelm, executive director of United Way of Deschutes County.

“The need remains high,” said Wilhelm. “While it’s a positive indicator that they’ve raised $13 billion in the sector, the issue is that there’s a lot more need, that’s not covering the needs out there.”

Officials say nonprofits will probably be the last to see economic recovery, but that this first wide-ranging study of its kind is a fresh look at how they’re a positive contribution to their communities and the economy.

“This is part of an evolving dialogue about nonprofits in our region,” said Cooper. “Nonprofits have always been a part of the landscape, but they tend on focusing on doing more good than going out and talking about themselves.”

“Here’s another opportunity to do that. I’m kind of glad we’re bringing it to the forefront,” said Cooper.

For more information about the study, visit the Nonprofit Association of Oregon’s Website:

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