Economic Benefits of Michigan's Nonprofit Sector

Executive Summary

Michigan suffered a severe economic decline in the 2000s, culminating with the Great Recession at the end of the decade. While Michigan’s and the nation’s economies have exited the official recession, the long downturn led to widespread job losses across Michigan. Nonprofits are more important than ever, not only through their various health, human service, and education, but also in their significant contribution to the overall economy. While there is considerable focus on the public and private sectors of our economy, the nonprofit sector’s economic contributions draw little attention. It is important to understand the contribution the nonprofit sector—which does not include government or public school employment—makes to statewide employment and to highlight its significance and economic contribution to our overall economy. Michigan’s nonprofit sector is both geographically diverse, with organizations in every county of the state, and operationally diverse (click here to see maps of these regions).

This report documents that Michigan’s nonprofit organizations:

  • Number more than 47,000.
  • Employed directly more than 451,342 people in 2015, or almost 11 percent of the Michigan workforce.
  • Pay their employees over $4.9 billion per quarter.
  • Hold assets of more than $240 billion.
  • Receive more than $81 billion in annual revenue.
  • Spend more than $80 billion each year, making a significant direct contribution to Michigan’s economy.

While the ranks of Michigan nonprofits have declined in recent years, Michigan’s nonprofit sector has had stable employment, and the wages paid to Michigan workers have grown. The sector not only weathered the Great Recession in a state bedeviled by high unemployment, but it remains a key cog in Michigan’s overall economy. Nonprofits in Michigan employ more than 1 of every 10 Michigan workers.

With broad distribution across the state, the organizations of the nonprofit sector anchor Michigan communities. Maintaining the critical infrastructure the nonprofit sector provides to our economy is crucial to Michigan’s health and economic recovery. Appendix A shows how these economic effects are spread across Michigan, grouped by the regions of the governor's Regional Prosperity Initiative. (Note: Figures on employment, number of nonprofits, assets, and wages differ slightly between Appendix A and the main report due to issues with assigning amounts to the appropriate prosperity region.)

Download the   pdf full report (PDF, 5.22 MB)

View or Download interactive regional maps.

View an interactive economic benefits dashboard.

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