KENTUCKY (4/21/13) - We hear quite a bit about how invaluable for-profit small businesses are to our economy and our workforce. What we don’t hear as much about is the economic impact that nonprofit organizations have on our state, and our individual communities.
The impact is far from small.
Statewide, nonprofits employ about 1 in 10 taxpaying Kentuckians (accounting for 9.3 percent of the state’s private workforce), adding $22 billion to the state’s economy in 2010. And a good chunk of that money is being spent right here in our area. According to the Kentucky Nonprofit Network (KNN), the state association for nonprofits, community spending by nonprofits in House District 15 was as follows in 2010 (IRS data):
• Fifty seven nonprofit organizations in Christian County spent $174,829,003;
• Thirty three nonprofits in Hopkins County spent $204,101,399;
• Fourteen nonprofits in Muhlenberg County spent $89,351,295.
These dollars cycle through our stores, banks, schools, local farms, mechanics, and other critical parts of our local and regional economic engine. They do good work, and are good for our people.
What do we know about nonprofits? Well, one thing we definitely know about nonprofits is that they are unique. Examples of nonprofits across the state are the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce, Kentucky Association of Food Banks, St. Luke Free Clinic of Hopkinsville, Ronald McDonald House Charities, Habitat for Humanity and many others, each with a very specific, focused mission.
Another thing we know is nonprofits save government money by providing critical services at less cost than government or for-profit business can provide those same services. Nonprofits also enrich our communities by providing access to the arts, quality education, excellent health care, and those other things that companies looking to do business in a new location want to see.
Really, nonprofits are completely invaluable, when you think about it. And that invaluable quality is what our nonprofits have asked us, as members of the Kentucky General Assembly, to consider each legislative session as we meet and possibly make decisions that could affect Kentucky nonprofits for years to come.
A primary concern of Kentucky’s nonprofits is maintaining tax-exemption and the tax deduction for charitable gifts which, according to the KNN, are “critical to nonprofits’ ability to remain viable community partners, including partners of local and state government,” and your state lawmakers share that concern. It is well documented that we Kentuckians take charitable giving very seriously. Here are a couple of facts provided by KNN to prove that point:
• Kentuckians donated $1.4 billion to charity in 2009, ranking Kentucky 30th nationally in total charitable contributions, and 16th nationally in giving by percentage of income.
• The biggest charitable givers in the state by percentage of income are the middle-class. Individuals with an annual income of $50,000-99,999 gave 5.4 percent of their income to charity in 2009, “more than individuals making $100,000 or more,” according to the KNN.
This charitable giving not only helps individual Kentuckians and the economy, but it takes pressure off the state budget to come up with that money elsewhere. Nonprofit charitable giving is, as I said before, an invaluable resource.
Kentucky really cannot afford do anything that will impede the progress that nonprofits have made toward improving quality of life and economic development in our state. Nonprofits are essential for: Delivering needed services, like food for the hungry and hospice care for the dying; Making our communities more appealing to industry by providing arts, education, healthcare, and workforce development; Educating the public on vital issues such as the danger of reckless driving or child abuse prevention; Finding solutions to problems, such as environmental pollution or the need for affordable day care for working families; Engaging communities through volunteerism or service on nonprofit boards; Providing a voice for the voiceless by speaking out for the most vulnerable among us, or; Providing faith-based services, including houses of worship and community service projects.
I am so proud of the work that Kentucky’s nonprofits do here in our area and statewide to improve the lives of our friends and neighbors across the Commonwealth. And I encourage you to get involved in their work. Volunteer, or consider making an annual or one-time charitable donation to the cause of your choice. Every bit counts!
Have a great week.
Disclaimer: The content supplied by columnists and letters to the Editor on this site does not in any way, shape or form, implied or otherwise, necessarily express or suggest endorsement or support of any of such content, statement, or opinions therein. SurfKY News does not necessarily adhere to or endorse content provided by outside non-staff sources.
Copyright 2013 SurfKY News Group, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
|< Prev||Next >|