Institute for Nonprofits

Impact of Non-Profits in Rockland County

Economic Impact Survey

The Economic Impact Survey of Non-Profits in Rockland County

United Way, Meals on Wheels and the Martin Luther King Multi-purpose Center are just a few of the well-known and beloved non-profit organizations in Rockland County. Although many people are familiar with the invaluable work these and other non-profits perform, few understand the enormous economic impact they make on the local economy. When people talk about job creation and economic growth, they often forget the role of non-profits even though non-profits provide 18% of jobs in the private sector in New York state [Thomas D. DiNapoli, Office of the State Comptroller, Profile of Non Profits in New York State, 2016. Employment data from US Bureau of Labor Statistics, Department of Labor, as of 2012, most current data available.].

To emphasize that point, the Institute for Non-Profits in Rockland conducts a survey of local non-profit organizations every five years to determine their economic impact. Cornell University’s Community and Rural Development Institute assists in analyzing and modelling the survey data. Findings of the survey are used to educate the general public, the business community and local government about the significance of this sector in terms of revenue generated, expenditures made in the county and job creation. Non-profits use the report to demonstrate to their funders that their impact goes far beyond the services they provide. The results of the most recent survey from 2017 are reported here.

In 2017 on behalf of the Institute for Non-Profits, Cornell Cooperative Extension of Rockland conducted a survey of the County's non-profit businesses to determine their direct and indirect economic impact on the community. Senior Extension Associate David Kay at Cornell University analyzed the results.

Snapshot … based on 287 organizations

  • $909 million Minimum estimated economic impact on Rockland County
  • $702 million Total estimated revenues of non-profit businesses
  • $286 million Monies brought into Rockland by non-profit businesses
  • $512 million Money spent within Rockland by non-profit businesses
  • $207 million Indirect expenditures through “ripple effect”
  • 12,500 Minimum number of employees in non-profit businesses
  • Added value of 142,000+ volunteer hours within Rockland

Although Rockland is home to more than 1,160 non-profit businesses, only 287 were included in the survey -- focusing primarily on the human service sector, arts, cultural and environmental missions. Agencies not surveyed included religious institutions, private foundations, public schools, colleges, hospitals, professional member organizations as well as those with no budget or paid staff or whose mission could not be identified. Following are extrapolated conclusions drawn by Professor David Kay at Cornell University about the 287 agencies.

  1. Revenues: These organizations generated a total of at least $702 million in revenues in 2017. Budgets ranged in size from $1,000 – to $45.4 million with a median size of approximately $0.6 million.
  2. In-County Revenue Sources: Of these revenues, approximately 59% or $414.2 million came from sources within the county including grants and contracts with local funding agencies and municipalities, businesses and county departments; program fees; fundraising; investment earnings; and county appropriations for contract agencies.
  3. External Revenue brought into Rockland:  These "in-county" revenues allowed Rockland's non-profit businesses to leverage funds from sources outside of Rockland County through grants and contracts with foundations, corporations and state and federal agencies – amounting to approximately $286 million or an average of 41% of their total 2017 revenues. In other words, for every dollar of support from within Rockland, the non-profits raised an additional $.69 from sources outside of Rockland. The combined revenues directly supported approximately 12,500 jobs.
  4. In-County Expenditures: On average, 73% or $512.5 million of the estimated total budgets for 287 organizations were spent within Rockland County, thus supporting the local economy through employment of Rockland residents and purchasing of equipment, supplies and services from local businesses.
  5. Impact on Rockland Businesses: An indirect – or ripple – effect is the impact of non-profit expenditures on Rockland’s business community.These expenditures and purchases by non-profits support other businesses, which, in turn, generate new jobs and incomes in the for-profit business community. This ripple effect includes indirect impacts (spending by suppliers-to-non-profits by purchasing additional inputs of their own) and induced impacts (personal spending by non-profit employees and business owners on household and consumer goods). Cornell’s researchers calculated that Rockland's non-profit businesses generated at least $ 206.9 million in growth (or ripple effect) for the business community in 2017.
  6. Employment: In 2017, these 287 agencies employed approximately 12,500 people – including full-time and part-time employees. Staff sizes of the 57 respondents ranged from zero to 1,171 (full and part-time)people with a median staff size of nine people. Collectively, the non-profits employ almost 10% of the total workforce (123,000) in Rockland County.
  7. Volunteers: Rockland's non-profit organizations recorded an estimated 142,000 volunteer-hours donated to the community by 34,700 volunteers, with an estimated value of $4,286,000 million* and immeasurable benefit to the quality of life in Rockland County. (* Based on $30.18/hour value as determined by Independent Sector, 2018)
  8. Visitors:Through its programs and services, Rockland’s 287 non-profit businesses drew an estimated 865,000 visitors to the county in 2017.
  9. Total Economic Impact: The total economic impact of these 287 non-profit businesses in Rockland County (including direct and indirect/induced impacts) during 2017 was estimated to be over $909 million. This represents approximately 4% of the estimated $25 billion output of the county as whole.

Last updated April 8, 2020