Nonprofits praised as local boon

May 4th, 2018

By Rosa Salter Rodriguez | The Journal Gazette

Far from being a drain on resources, Allen County's nonprofit human services agencies contribute more than $722 million to the local economy, according to a report issued Thursday.

The Alliance for Human Services, which comprises more than 50 local nonprofits, commissioned the report. It was released Thursday at a news conference at Turnstone's Plassman Athletic Center.

The event was attended by about 60 agency representatives and several government leaders.

According to the report, the county has 373 agencies that focus on providing for human needs out of more than 1,400 county nonprofits.

The 373 have 11,174 employees who are paid more than $382 million in annual wages.

The agencies employ 1 of every 20 paid workers in the county and are the second-largest employment sector, behind only hospitals. The average salary is about $31,000 annually.

Hospitals and churches were not included in the study, conducted by True North NPO, Fort Wayne, and researchers from the University of Saint Francis.

The $722 million economic impact comes through direct, indirect and induced impacts included in the study.

The agencies have a $417.5 million impact through direct spending on goods and wages and $304.6 million in indirect and induced impacts. Induced impacts are the increases in spending that result from others doing business with the agencies.

Steve Hoffman, chief executive officer of Brightpoint and an Alliance board member, told attendees the report was prompted in part by demands for data from those who make funding decisions. It's believed to be a first of its kind for the county, he said.

“We often think of the good our human services do, how we impact people, but what do our agencies contribute in economic impact? ... We do have tremendous economic impact,” he said.

The report now quantifies that impact, Hoffman said.

Beyond generating employment, according to the report, the agencies studied generate $405 million in annual revenue and hold $552 million in assets.

And, despite being exempt from corporate income tax, the agencies generate about $4.1 million in taxes for the county, about 5.5 percent of total tax revenues, the report said.

In a finding that Hoffman said was something of a surprise to him, the top 100 human services agencies earn more than 50 percent of their income. The revenue comes through contracts for services and program and investment income, including income from outside the county, the report stated.

About 46 percent of agencies' revenue comes from contributions, gifts, grants from philanthropists and foundations and businesses, according to the report, “Economic Impact of Allen County's Human Service Organizations.”

Alliance officials said the report will likely be used during fundraising conversations and events. The report is also available online at

Hoffman said the county's human services agencies “move people from needing assistance to contributing to the local economy as employees, consumers, homeowners and taxpayers.” 

“Our hope is that when people look at us and support us, it's more than about helping people,” he added. “It's also us making a better economy for all of us.”

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