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Report: PA Non-Profits Generating Big Benefits for Poor and Disadvantaged

February 4, 2011

PHILADELPHIA - A new report says Pennsylvania is benefiting in a big way from the work of organizations that are not-for-profit. Over the past several years, advocacy by 13 such groups has brought the state more than $3 billion in benefits for low-wage workers, public schools and affordable housing.

Lisa Ranghelli, project director with the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy, says the report shows nonprofits doing more with less in a challenging economy.

"These incredible impacts point to the fact that people are working together effectively - urban, rural, across race and class - and it paints a picture of what can be accomplished when people really come together."

Ranghelli says one concept nonprofits are cultivating is that careful public investment can be a policy that saves money.

"They really understand what the needs are of their constituents and their clients, and they understand that government can be doing a better job with its limited resources."

Ranghelli says the report offers an underlying message as well.

"It's not just a call to foundations and government to look at the role of nonprofits, but it's really a call to ordinary citizens around the state to say, 'It may be discouraging times, but when you work together to solve problems, you can really achieve tremendous things.'"

The National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy report also makes it clear that many nonprofits in the state are barely hanging on financially. The group offers a number of suggestions, including using more grant money for advocacy, doling out more grants for multiple years and increasing efforts aimed at the homeless and disadvantaged.

The full report is available at http://www.ncrp.org/publications.

Tom Joseph, Public News Service - PA