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Fact Sheet: Michigan's Nonprofit Sector

Size and Nature: According to the IRS, in 2008 Michigan had more than 47,000 nonprofit organizations. Of these, 31,000 are public charities and private foundations, or 501(c)(3) nonprofits, which means their purpose is religious, educational, charitable, scientific, literary or cultural. Donations to 501(c)(3) nonprofits are deductible, on the federal level, within certain limits. In 2008, nearly 63 percent of nonprofits were public charities, 32 percent were non-chartiable and 5 percent were private foundations.

Scope: Michigan's nonprofit sector is both geographically diverse, with organizations in every county of the state, and operationally diverse. From large institutions like Michigan State University or the University of Michigan to small groups like local food banks. Nonprofits work with every issue of concern to Michigan residents - from education to health, human services to the arts, economic development to the environment.

Roles: Michiganians look to nonprofits to:

  • Deliver services needed in the community;
  • Provide avenues for citizens to get involved as volunteers;
  • Serve as a testing ground for solutions to community problems;
  • Develop public policy options for government to consider;
  • Provide a voice for underrepresented citizens;
  • Educate the public on issues facing our society;
  • Provide structures for citizen participation in a free society; and
  • Provide opportunities for religious worship.
Economic Impact: Charitable organizations are sometimes called the "third economy" because of their financial prominence. According to the latest figures available:

  • Nonprofits generate more than $108 billion each year in overall economic activity, through direct expenditures of more than $60 billion, which creates indirect and induced economic effects of an additional $48 billion.
  • Michigan's nonprofits hold assets of over $179 billion, up 71 percent from $105 billion in 2003 .
  • The nonprofit sector employ directly more than 440,000 people in Michigan, or ten percent of the Michigan workforce, and generates an additional 161,000 jobs as a result of spending by organizations and their employees.
Read the latest Economic Benefits to Michigan's Nonprofit Sector 2009 report

Giving and Volunteering: Michigan has a long and strong tradition of giving and volunteering. According to 2009 statistics:

  • Over 85 percent of Michigan residents (85.2%) made a contribution to a charity in the previous year.
  • Over 50 percent of the adult population (52.9%) volunteered in 2009. Women (57.4%) are still significantly more likely to volunteer than men (47.6%), but male volunteer rates have increased noticeably by more than ten percent from 2008.
  • The percentage of residents who see charities as important to community quality of life increased from last year, with almost nine out of ten residents (89.4%) agreeing with this statement.
  • Nearly nine out of ten Michigan residents (88.3%) believe that charities should retain their tax exemptions.
Read the latest Giving and Volunteering in Michigan report
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