U.S. Nonprofit Sector is Sixth Largest Economy in the World. In 2002, Montana’s 1520 reporting charitable nonprofits had $2.5 billion in expenditures

In 2002, Montana’s 1520 reporting charitable nonprofits had $2.5 billion in expenditures – 11% of the State’s Gross Product. The Press Release below, from our national organizations, the National Council of Nonprofit Associations, paints the picture of the entire US Nonprofit Sector. I thought you might find this of interest. For information about the Montana Nonprofit Association, please contact Brian Magee at [email protected]

Thank you!


Brad Robinson | Member Services Director
Montana Nonprofit Association (MNA)


The National Council of Nonprofit Associations (NCNA) releases United States Nonprofit Sector, a report featuring the most current information and statistics (2003) on America’s charitable organizations.

Highlights include the following:

* There were 837,027 charitable nonprofits in the United States, excluding foundations and religious congregations in 2003. This is an increase of 68 percent from 1993.

288,150 charitable nonprofits had gross receipts of over $25,000 in 2003 and filed IRS Form 990 in 2003. These organizations, often referred to as “reporting” nonprofits, provide much of the data available on the sector.

* Total assets of all reporting nonprofits were $1.76 trillion in 2003.

* Total expenditures of all reporting nonprofits were $945 billion in 2003.

Human services organizations made up the largest group of nonprofits at 34 percent.

* California and New York were home to the largest number of charitable organizations.

* The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation was the biggest foundation giver in 2003, distributing over $1.1 billion to nonprofits.

According to the The World Factbook, the asset base of the sector would make the “nonprofit economy” the sixth largest in the world – larger than the economies of Brazil, Russia, Canada, Mexico, and South Korea.

“The economic size of the nonprofit sector, when matched with the social impact of its work, is evidence that America relies on nonprofits and cannot successfully tackle the problems it faces without the work and presence of this vital force,” said Audrey R. Alvarado, Ph.D., executive director, of NCNA. “I can only imagine the possibilities if the nonprofit sector united from its position of strength,” said Alvarado.

The nonprofit sector in the United States comprises a vast and diverse set of organizations. From soup kitchens, daycare centers, environmental, advocacy, and civil rights groups; to hospitals, educational institutions, theatres, and faith based organizations, charitable organizations exist to serve and promote the common good.

The goal of the report is to better inform the public to about the size and scope of the charitable sector in our society. The full report is available at In addition to the national report, NCNA also published state specific reports; all are available for download at

Audrey R. Alvarado, Ph.D.
(202) 962-0322 x21
[email protected]

The National Council of Nonprofit Associations (NCNA) is the network of state and regional nonprofit associations serving over 22,000 members in 45 states and the District of Columbia. NCNA links local organizations to a national audience through state associations and helps small and mid-sized nonprofits: manage and lead more effectively; collaborate and exchange solutions; and engage in critical policy issues affecting the sector; and achieve greater impact in their communities.


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