Tag Archives: Reno2020 Forum

Non-profit sector provides economic strength


Attending the Reno 2020 Forum last week reminded me of the impact the non-profit sector has on local communities. I was impressed by the Forum, but was disappointed by the absence of the words “non-profit” and “community organizations” from the dialogue.

Local economies are driven by the public, private and non-profit sectors. As local residents know, the non-profit sector in Washoe County is diverse and growing. Contributing to the overall health of our economy, non-profit organizations generate revenue from outside sources, provide jobs, and circulate money through the economy.

I’ve spent my entire career in the non-profit sector because of my belief that its organizations provide tools for community building, foster civil society, and strengthen our social fabric, making northern Nevada an incredible place to live and work.

As I was sitting among well over 200 other leaders at the Forum, I used my Blackberry search the National Center for Charitable Statistics to substantiate my thoughts about the significance the non-profit sector plays on the local economy.

I found an impressive number of charts, which provided a wealth of information including one illustrating the growing number of non-profit organizations in northern Nevada.

Year #Charities
1995 1,316
2000 1,520
2005 1,744
2010 2,093


That’s a very large number of organizations seeking to improve our local quality of life. As of November 2010, there were 2,093 non-profit entities located in Washoe County.

One other chart was even more impressive. To preview, the Center’s charts broke its reports down to three different types of non-profit organizations, described as:

  • Public (501c3) Charities include most nonprofit organizations involved in the arts, education, health care, human services, and community service, as well as many others;
  • Private (501c3) Foundations primarily include organizations that make grants to other nonprofits;
  • Other (exempt) Non-profits registered with the IRS include trade unions, business leagues, social and recreational clubs, and veterans associations classified under varying sections of the IRS code.


Type of Non-profit Organization # Filed Form990 $ Assets
Public (501c3) Charities 815 $ 1,970,798,737
Private (501c3) Foundations 212 1,965,018,292
Other Non-profits 436 311,675,867
All 1,463 $ 4,247,492,896


Of the 2,093 non-profit organizations located in Washoe County, exactly 1,463 organizations filed Form 990s. As of November 2010, the combined revenue of charities which filed was $1,394,459,945 for the previous twelve months.

The figures are correct. The strength of the organizations which filed 990’s is noteworthy, as they hold over $4 billion in assets and generate nearly $1.4 billion in annual revenue.

The non-profit sector not only represents a significant amount of the employment and wages in Washoe County, but also contributes to quality of life issues. Northern Nevadans have access to quality healthcare, education, job training, social activities, and recreation because of this important sector of our economy.

When looking at the non-profit sector, it’s time to recognize it as not just a source of outstanding community support, but a sector of strength and economic importance.