Top 25 RI Non-Profits Total Billions - Spheres of Influence
Friday, November 08, 2013
Now, GoLocalProv's "Spheres of Influence" utilizes an infographic to show the state's top revenue-generating nonprofits by size, indicating just how big a presence some of the organizations have in Rhode Island.
Chris Barnett, Senior Public Affairs Officer with the Rhode Island Foundation, said that the impact of non-profits on the state was "tremendous."
"Nonprofits attract tens of millions of dollars in federal and national grants and other investments. They employ tens of thousands of Rhode Islanders. Those salaries generate in millions in income and sales taxes," Barnett told GoLocal.
"They are a catalyst for renewal. How many buildings all over Rhode Island would be vacant or abandoned today if nonprofits were not there to step in?"
Former Director of Administration Gary Sasse, however, cautioned against their ability to be effective, in light of the state's current economy.
"It may not be all good news going forward," warned Sasse. "The economic contributions of nonprofits are linked to the economic conditions in the for profit sector. Nonprofits require a healthy business climate to prosper. Rhode Island’s employment recovery from the great recession lags the nations. Because nonprofits deliver services rather than trades goods their impact on the economy can be compromised in a state like Rhode Island that lacks an economic development game plan and effective leadership."
"The impact of nonprofits is often measured by the quality of its programs. However, beyond their ability to improve a community they play a critical role in boosting the local labor market," said Sasse. "According to the Rhode Island Foundation, nonprofits account for almost one-fifth of the State’s labor force and pump $8 billion into the economy. In fact, Rhode Island and New York are tied as states with the highest percentage of people employed by nonprofits."
According to data available through the Rhode Island Foundation, the number of active nonprofit organizations registered with the Rhode Island Secretary of State in 2012 was 8,143 and includes organizations with all 501(c) designations. In addition to public charities and foundations, this number includes condominium associations, religious groups, sports teams, and other civic organizations.
"The nonprofits play a significant role in the Rhode Island economy by creating jobs and spending in the community and also by providing services not being offered or supported by government and industry. Many nonprofits improve and enrich our quality of life by supporting education, civic activities, the environment, social welfare, health and arts programs," said URI Distinguished Professor of Business Edward Mazze.
"But on the other hand, the nonprofits should, but rarely do, account for their finances, governance, disclosure practices and programs. The nonprofits should identify the people who benefit from their protected tax status," Mazze continued. "Nonprofits should conduct for their donors and volunteers a cost benefit analysis of their organization's contributions to the community on an annual basis. I would suspect that if this were to take place, more than one-half the nonprofits in the state would disappear."
Mazze said the nonprofits in Rhode Island were "paying their fair share," however.
"The assets of the nonprofits have been accumulated from different sources over long periods of time for specific purposes to support programs not local tax payments. The nonprofits with the largest assets are "returning" money to the community by employing people and by creating jobs where taxes are being paid by individuals, supporting social welfare and other programs that the government does not fund and making the creative arts accessible to everyone," he said.
"The nonprofits are paying their fair share. Imagine what the government and the public would have to pay to support these activities! Individual income and property taxes in Rhode Island would have to increase by at least ten percent. And, we would not get the same benefits we get now from nonprofit organizations."
Question of Taxes
"The voluntary tax agreements Providence has struck with four colleges will pour an additional $44.5 million into city coffers over the next two decades, but those deals came at a price—the selling off of all or portions of nine city streets, granting licenses for hundreds of parking spaces, and at least one land deal," Beale wrote in February 2013.
Tony Maione, one of the state's nonprofit leaders with the United Way, offered his take on the issue of taxes as they pertained to smaller organizations.
"Non-profits add a tremendous amount of value beyond the taxes that they might pay if they were taxable entities. While there are large non-profits, and many of them have agreements with municipalities, most of the sector is very small. Any tax on them would come directly from money that would have otherwise been used for services. Where non-profits of any size can do a better job is in quantifying just how much value that we do add to our community of residence," said Maione.
He continued, "United Way of RI is a good example, we just recently purchased our headquarters in Olneyville. Our investment five years ago rehabbed an abandoned and environmentally damaged property and brought 62 employees to the small Olneyville neighborhood. In addition, when we came, we made a commitment to grant $100,000 per year for five years to the Olneyville area."
"Imagine life without organizations like Crossroads, Meeting Street School, Community Action Programs, Save The Bay or Trinity Square. The list goes on and on. Our quality of life is closely tied to the work of non-profits in RI."
Related Slideshow: Check Out The Grades: Rhode Island Hospitals Report Card
A recent survey released by The Leapfrog Group assigns a Hospital Safety Score, using the report card system of A to F to each of the hospitals in Rhode Island. These grades are based on expert analysis of injuries, infections and errors that cause harm or death during a hospital stay.
Let's see how each of Rhode Island's hospitals were graded from highest to lowest:
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