Our Leading Nonprofits

Oct 25, 2017

Our Leading Nonprofits
Kenneth Harwood
Economist
 for Solvang Chamber of Commerce
This is a season when many people think of giving to private nonprofit organizations. Here are examples of local leaders in yearly nonprofit revenue.
Human services by far is the largest category of revenue, followed by education, chambers of commerce, and charitable social clubs. The national pattern of giving is to be most generous to religion, followed by education, human services, and foundations.
Religion may well be more important to local giving than suggested by the graph. Reported revenues are from the website GuideStar, which displays Internal Revenue Service form 990. Churches and similar organizations are not required to file tax returns with IRS.

Human services rank first locally and third nationally. Local prominence of human services seems to reflect our area’s long-time attractions as a place in which to retire, among other possible reasons. Human services rank ahead of education here, perhaps because of the unusually large numbers of the retired.

Yearly revenues in the latest reporting year appear to be related in part to size and wealth of community.
Our support of chambers of commerce and charitable social clubs seems to reflect our preferences for small businesses and civic responsibilities.

Our patterns of giving say much about us. They help to catalog our priorities in serving human needs and wants. They are an example of behavioral economics, a subject for which the Nobel memorial award in economic sciences 2017 goes to Richard H. Thaler, University of Chicago.


Please go online to GuideStar, and sort the entries by name of community to see federal tax returns of local nonprofits. The website of Giving USA tracks national patterns of giving. Solvang Lutheran Home operates Atterdag Village retirement facilities, and its yearly gross revenues are combined with those of its foundation for purposes of this report. Our local economic area includes Santa Ynez Valley and Los Alamos Valley.

Posted in Dr. Ken Hardwood.