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Florida nonprofits show growth but still lag behind other states

Nonprofits in the state bring in $105 billion, but rank low nationally when it comes to other key measures, a new report says.

Despite dramatic growth and a sizeable workforce, Florida’s nonprofit sector continues to rank well behind most other states when it comes to the prevalence of active groups and how much money they have.

A report, released Friday by the Florida Nonprofit Alliance, says the state has 4.5 nonprofits for every 1,000 residents, which is 47th in the nation. The top states in that category have about seven nonprofits for every 1,000 residents, the report said.

On another measure — assets per capita — Florida nonprofits as a whole ranked 39th in the nation.

Still, the nearly 95,000 nonprofits in the state generate revenues of $105 billion and employ nearly 630,000 people, with a total payroll of $33 billion, the report said.

Since 2007, it said, the number of nonprofits has more than doubled in Florida, and the number of nonprofit employees has increased by two-thirds. Those employees make up about 6.5 percent of the workforce, the largest sector after construction and manufacturing.

The report also concludes that nonprofits deserve more attention for the role they play on the employment front, especially as the economy takes a beating from the coronavirus crisis.

“The nonprofit sector is not often seen as an economic driver,” said Sabeen Perwaiz, executive director of the Florida Nonprofit Alliance. “As the state is talking about reopening, our sector gets left out of that conversation. And in reality, many nonprofits never closed.”

Sabeen Perwaiz, executive director of the Florida Nonprofit Alliance, says nonprofits should receive more attention as drivers of the local economy. [Courtesy of Sabeen Perwaiz]
Sabeen Perwaiz, executive director of the Florida Nonprofit Alliance, says nonprofits should receive more attention as drivers of the local economy. [Courtesy of Sabeen Perwaiz]

The report was compiled using Internal Revenue Service and Department of Economic Opportunity data that did not include the first two quarters of the 2020 fiscal year. Among the 94,769 nonprofits it counted were public universities and some hospital systems.

Many nonprofits across the state, particularly in health and human services, have seen an increase in demand for their services since the pandemic began. At the same time, they have faced diminishing revenue as major fundraisers were cancelled and donors have been hurt financially.

Related: RELATED: Coronavirus leaves Tampa Bay nonprofits hurting for funds

“I wouldn’t be surprised if the number of nonprofits decreased next year,” Perwaiz said. “Many have had to consider layoffs and have faced a lack of reserves.”

An earlier survey from the National Nonprofit Alliance found that the best prepared nonprofits had enough cash reserves for about three months, and most had even less.

While some of the organizations qualified for federal stimulus programs, such as the Paycheck Protection Program and Economic Injury Disaster Loans, the distribution has been uneven from what the alliance has been hearing, Perwaiz said. The group plans to survey organizations in June to find out how many received stimulus money.

Related: RELATED: Nonprofits seek Paycheck Protection loans but worry about equity

This year’s report also includes a directory of all nonprofits in the state, searchable by name or social function and a breakdown by county.

Hillsborough County, the report stated, has 6,333 nonprofits generating more than $10.5 billion — $2.6 billion of which is spent on 50,764 employees, with an average salary of $51,473. Nearly 65 percent of the revenue came from health-related nonprofits. The next highest category was human services at about 16 percent, followed by education at 9.7 percent.

Pinellas County has 4,550 nonprofits generating more than $7 billion — $1.36 billion of which was spent on 29,346 employees with an average salary of $46,427. In Pinelllas, about 55 percent of revenue was generated through health-related nonprofits, with human services following at about 27 percent and education at 8.5 percent.

Pasco County has 1,685 nonprofits generating $1.44 billion, with about $503 million spent on 9,477 employees averaging $53,107 in salary.

Outside of keeping people employed, the rest of the revenue goes back into the community as nonprofits maintain their programs, services and overhead costs, Perwaiz said.

“It’s just human nature that people kind of think of nonprofits as people who do good," she said. "But they forget we still need to pay overhead and salaries and mortgages. We’re tax exempt, but we’re a business.”