Study: Local nonprofit organizations contribute $6 billion to local economy

First-of-its-kind industry report was commissioned by the San Antonio Area Foundation in collaboration with the San Antonio Chamber of Commerce and other key partners

COVID-19 has delivered a one-two punch to the city’s nonprofit organizations. Nonprofits that serve the community are simultaneously being called on to drastically increase help for the people they serve, as well as deliver services in new and safer ways, all while experiencing significant loss of revenue with cancelled fundraising events, fewer volunteers and drastic changes in their staffing models.

Nonprofit Economic Impact Study

Through this lens, the first-of-its kind study of the economic impact of nonprofits on the San Antonio area underscores the critical role nonprofits play as an economic engine for the region, in addition to their leadership in addressing community needs.  The Nonprofit Economic Impact Study is funded by the San Antonio Area Foundation and co-developed with the San Antonio Chamber of Commerce, Family Service Association, the Nonprofit Council and United Way of San Antonio and Bexar County.

Highlights from the study and its findings will be presented at an online event including Mayor Ron Nirenberg, Area Foundation CEO Marjie French and researchers from Trinity University on Dec. 9 at 2 p.m.

Two kids hugging each other

As the most comprehensive examination of our region’s nonprofit industry ever attempted, it is intended to establish a baseline for measuring the impact of nonprofits in Bexar County. The lead researchers of this study, Dr. Richard Butler and Dr. Mary Stefl of Trinity University, have partnered with the chamber of commerce for over twenty years to produce similar studies for other industries in the region.

 “Nonprofits are the heart of the community, enhancing the quality of life in our area, but they are often overlooked for the central role they play in our economy,” said Marjie French, CEO of the San Antonio Area Foundation. “They stand shoulder to shoulder with other industries and contribute to the economic strength of their communities at the local, state and national levels.”

Kids playing sports

The study found that nonprofits are one of the region’s largest industries, with annual revenues and expenditures of $6 billion. Nonprofits employ nearly 68,000 San Antonians, or approximately 7 percent of the labor force, paying them $2.5 billion per year. While the city’s charitable organizations are broad in scope, focusing on everything from the arts to recreation and sports, approximately 60 percent are in human services, community improvement and education sectors.

“The numbers are significant and undeniable—nonprofits are major players as employers and partners in improving the quality of life in our region,” said Richard Perez, President and CEO of the San Antonio Chamber of Commerce.“

Employment in nonprofit organizations throughout Texas grew 29 percent between 2007 and 2017. Most nonprofits in Bexar County are small, with nearly 80 percent employing fewer than 10 staff members. However, over two dozen nonprofit organizations in the area employ more than 500 people, mostly in the education and healthcare sectors.

More than half of Bexar County nonprofits have annual revenues of less than $250,000, while the revenues of 99 Bexar County nonprofits are in excess of $10 million. Ten large organizations generate revenue of more than $10 million.

“This study shows that nonprofits are a powerful force in San Antonio’s economy and helps us understand that by supporting them, we are supporting the resiliency of our community,” said French.  “We hope this is only a starting point that allows us the opportunity to track the significant role nonprofits will play in our recovery.”

”The Area Foundation supports nonprofits in Bexar and surrounding counties through grants from the charitable funds that it manages on behalf of donors. The Area Foundation also strengthens nonprofits through a variety of services, including professional development, supervisory and management programs, meeting and training space, a resource library, executive leadership programs and other resources.

Coverage of this release has been distributed by PR Newswire.