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First ever nonprofit impact study results unveiled

Strengthening Communities Report details the impact of the nonprofit sector on Maryland’s Lower Eastern Shore

Community leaders from around the Lower Shore released the findings of the Strengthening Communities Nonprofit Impact Report on May 31st at Dove Pointe in Salisbury, Md. 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).

  • Approximately 1 in 3 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

Pictured above, Strengthening Communities Report partners: Heather Mahler, Community Foundation of the Eastern Shore; Greg Padgham, Tri County Council; Mike Dunn, Greater Salisbury Committee; Erica Joseph, Community Foundation; Bill Chambers, Salisbury Area Chamber of Commerce; Kathryn Gordon, Worcester County Economic Development; Sarah Guy, BEACON at Salisbury University; Heather Iliff, Maryland Nonprofits; Pam Gregory, United Way of the Lower Eastern Shore.


About the Community Foundation: As leaders, grant makers, and stewards of philanthropy, the Community Foundation of the Eastern Shore connects people who care to causes that matter for the common good of the Lower Eastern Shore. We are a 501c3 nonprofit with an inspiring history of fostering charitable endeavors, and have provided more than $80 million in grants and scholarships to the local community since 1984. We collaborate with individuals, families, and businesses to match their charitable interests with community needs and strengthen local nonprofits through grants and resources. We are devoted to improving our regional community and believe in the power of philanthropy.

For information contact: Victoria Kent, Marketing Officer | 410-742-9911 |vkent@CFES.org


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