SALISBURY – Community leaders from around the Lower Shore last released the findings of the Strengthening Communities Nonprofit Impact Report.
The study, which is the first of its kind for the region, details the economic and social impact of the nonprofit sector in Dorchester, Somerset, Wicomico, and Worcester counties. Many significant findings, such as the annual $695 million regional economic impact created by the Lower Shore nonprofit sector, are highlighted in the report.
“For the very first time Maryland’s Lower Eastern Shore has clear-cut facts about the regional impact created by nonprofits,” says Erica Joseph, Community Foundation President. “It is our hope that this quantitative data can be used for future community and nonprofit growth while demonstrating the important role nonprofits play in our economy and quality of life.”
Key findings of the report include nonprofits on the Lower Eastern Shore have a total economic impact of over $695 million annually; the nonprofit sector supports over 9,200 jobs on the Lower Eastern Shore, contributing over $379 million in 2017 to the region’s economy through wages paid (14% of the region’s total wages); and approximately one in three Lower Shore neighbors are served directly and indirectly by local nonprofits.
Despite the large impact of the nonprofit sector, organizations still face many obstacles including struggles to raise funds that cover full costs, insufficient staff or volunteers for workloads, and challenges to offer competitive pay.
“Nonprofits are part of the heart and soul of our region. They are part of our social network, and part of our social fabric,” says Mike Dunn, Greater Salisbury Committee President and CEO. “This study lends credence to the very power of our nonprofits. Our region would not be as strong and viable as it is without the work of our nonprofits. Those who benefit from them, and those who work for them.”
In addition to economic data, the report details the social and community impacts made by the nonprofit sector. Factors such as quality of life indicators from across the region, the implications if the nonprofit sector were to disappear, nonprofit funding, and sector challenges are discussed as well.
“Nonprofits establish themselves with the goal to help meet the needs of our community. They are all around us, but some people may not be aware of the direct impact (jobs) and indirect impact (economic wellbeing) nonprofits have,” says Kathryn Gordon, Deputy Director of Worcester County Economic Development. “This study showcases the impact these somewhat silent supporters really have.”
The collaborative study used data collected from participating nonprofits and existing data from the IRS and the Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation. The report was led by The Community Foundation of the Eastern Shore, The United Way of the Lower Eastern Shore, The Salisbury Area Chamber of Commerce, Tri-County Council, Worcester County Economic Development, Greater Salisbury Committee, in partnership with Maryland Nonprofits, Johns Hopkins, and BEACON at Salisbury University.
To read the full report or for further information, visit LowerShoreNPimpact.org