Bringing the Economy Home


The Role Of Idaho's Nonprofit Organizations


Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

Two homeless people study with a tutor at Step Up in Boise, a nonprofit that helps homeless people get GEDs and go on to college.

Nearly 50,000 people are directly employed by charitable nonprofits in Idaho, earning on average $43,350 per year. Those positions equal about 8 percent of all Idaho jobs. That’s all according to a May 2012 report by University of Idaho economist Steven Peterson, and commissioned by the Idaho Nonprofit Center.

The ten-page report looks at the economic impact nonprofits have on the state.  What Peterson found, surprised him.  “Any way you slice these numbers up, if you take a look at the impact on Idaho’s economy, they’re huge,” says Peterson.

He discovered there are 7,712 registered nonprofits in Idaho, with revenue in 2010 totaling $4.6 billion.

Peterson’s data includes a wide range of nonprofits, from hospitals and religious groups to arts and culture organizations and social services.  “From cradle to grave we interact with nonprofits in every part of our lives,” says Peterson.  “We just don’t see them.”

The research report concludes Idaho’s nonprofits’ revenues and expenditures more than doubled from 2000 to 2011, growing at an annual pace of 8.8 percent per year.  A large part of that growth can be attributed to the healthcare sector Peterson says.

While the Great Recession put a strain on all industries, including nonprofits, there was a greater need for their services which also contributed to growth.

Idaho Nonprofit Quick Facts

      • Charitable nonprofits directly employ more people than real estate, wholesale trade, finance and insurance, transportation, farm production and warehousing
      • Nearly half (46 percent) of Idaho nonprofit jobs are non-health related
      • Volunteering America reports 393,700 Idahoans volunteer annually, racking up 60 million hours of service
      • Most of Idaho’s nonprofits don’t pay property taxes, but the industry paid $37 million in personal income taxes and $4.7 million in corporate income taxes in 2011

Source: The Economic Impacts of Idaho’s Nonprofit Organizations Research Report

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