Summit Meeting of Adirondack Nonprofits

Published Nov 26, 2013

Adirondack NNRepresentatives from more than 100 Adirondack Mountain region nonprofit organizations met on November 21, 2013 to discuss common issues and a significant report on the economic impact of nonprofit groups.

The Nonprofit Summit, held at The Wild Center in Tupper Lake, was hosted by the Adirondack Nonprofit Network (ANN) and the Common Ground Alliance (CGA). The event attracted approximately 200 people, including staff, volunteers and board members from scores of not-for-profits.

"Today is a real celebration of the contributions of our region's nonprofit organizations, which are crucial to the strength and revitalization of our Adirondack communities," said Summit Chair Jim Herman. "Although we knew it all along, it's great to see real data showing how strong the economic impact of nonprofits is here. Today, we've come together to show that we are even stronger when we plan together and partner throughout the region. To work for, volunteer with or contribute financially to our nonprofits is one of the great opportunities to make our Adirondack communities even better."

"The Wild Center is thrilled to host this meeting, which is possibly the largest gathering of Adirondack nonprofit organizations ever," said Hillarie Logan-Dechene, director of philanthropy at The Wild Center. "The report will be a useful tool for talking about the impact of nonprofits in our region and a conversation starter about the many contributions our sector makes to the North Country region."

The report, "Economic Impact: 36 Adirondack Nonprofits," was funded by ANN. The findings were compiled and analyzed by the SUNY Oswego Office of Business and Community Relations, while the study itself was written and produced by Adirondack Foundation (formerly Adirondack Community Trust) and Davidson Design, Inc. The study was presented at the summit by Hillarie Logan-Dechene, Director of Philanthropy at The Wild Center, and Ben Strader, Director of Blue Mountain Center.

"This study quantifies what we already know to be true: the Adirondack region's nonprofit sector is a key economic engine," said Cali Brooks, executive director of Adirondack Foundation. "We set out to compile figures that speak to the nonprofit sector's economic impact and to do so in a fiscally prudent way, so the scope of the study is limited. If we had included more nonprofit organizations, the total economic impact would be even greater. This study-its findings and its stories-highlights a key part of Adirondack life: volunteering, working and donating to nonprofit organizations."

"All of us who work in nonprofits have anecdotal stories about the value of what we do, but to add it all up, and to actually see the the return on investment and combined economic impact that nonprofits deliver, is truly impressive," said Kate Fish, executive director of the Adirondack North Country Association. "Interest in this is very high, as we can see by the sell-out crowd today at the Nonprofit Summit at The Wild Center. The nonprofit sector is becoming a strong player in economic development in the region."

SUNY Oswego used Form 990s and a supplemental questionnaire to analyze and compile the study's findings, which represent economic activities for the 2011 fiscal year. Additional research and interviews were conducted by Adirondack Foundation.

Key Findings:

  • The total economic impact for the 36 nonprofits studied is $422,240,495. This figure was calculated using the combined expenditures for the organizations and a regional, weighted output multiplier of 1.97.
  • The nonprofits in the study employ nearly 1,600 full- and part-time staff, with salaries totaling more than $84 million and payroll taxes totaling approximately $6.2 million.
  • The nonprofit sector is responsible for one in 10 jobs in the Adirondack Park.
  • Close to 2,000 volunteers (including board members) accounted for nearly 100,000 hours of volunteer time. The value of this volunteer time is worth approximately $2.8 million.
  • The nonprofits studied serve a population of approximately 1.6 million people, including year-round and seasonal residents as well as visitors to the region.
  • Approximately one-third of employees working for the nonprofits in the study are between the ages of 20 and 40, according to a poll of ANN members.
  • Nonprofits in the study spent approximately $3.8 million on fundraising in 2011 and raised a total of $32 million - a 742.7 percent return on investment.

The Summit also served as the official launch of Adirondack Gives, a crowdfunding website for Adirondack region nonprofits developed by Adirondack Foundation and Counterpoint Media.

"Adirondack Gives is an online catalogue of giving opportunities in the Adirondack region," said Chris Morris, Adirondack Foundation's communications manager. "This site provides donors with a one-stop shop - it's an excellent tool for seeing the existing needs of nonprofits, public charities, and civic groups. And it's a simple, easy way for those organizations to make their needs known to the public.

To view the complete study, including a list of sources, click here.

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About the Author Robert Sutherland:
Robert Sutherland is a travel writer enjoying life. Robert has two adult daughters and six grandchildren.
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