Economy

Louisville’s more than 2,000 nonprofits have accounted for $10.6 billion in annual revenue over the past year, according to a new study by the Center for Nonprofit Excellence. 

At a news conference on Thursday at Brown-Forman, a sponsor of the research, Mayor Greg Fischer talked about the role of nonprofits as both the state and country see new leadership.

“I think people are looking for a way to make a difference and have a response to the election,” he said.  “And one of the ways to do that is to help people. And you can do that through your nonprofit.”

Gregory Nielsen, CEO of the Center for Nonprofit Excellence, said they were “pleasantly surprised by the amount of good news in the report.”

“A lot of times, nonprofits tend to focus on their challenges,” he said.

And there are challenges. For example, 34 percent of Louisville nonprofits ended the past year with a deficit. Besides revenue, another challenge is diversity among boards. Female representation on nonprofit boards with budgets over $1 million or with 10 board members or more, plunges.

With President-elect Donald Trump set to take office in January, Nielsen said the entire country is feeling some level of concern and uncertainty, and that includes nonprofit leadership. 

“For our nonprofit leaders, that’s manifesting itself in a lot of concern about the need and the increase,” said Nielsen. “There will be a significant increase in need for nonprofits to pick up the slack if government and other entities do walk away from the challenges of the community.”

Jim Turner, an estate planner at Hilliard Lyons Trust Company, said getting involved in nonprofit work helps him make sense during a time of dramatic change in the state and country.

“Since last week, in talking with friends and other individuals, I think a lot of people are in a place where they are reflective and contemplative about where we are as a country,” he said. “And for me helping with nonprofit is the place that gives me hope.”

Roxanne Scott covers the economy for WFPL News.