Nonprofits stabilize Northwest Indiana economy and employ thousands with well-paying jobs

Nonprofits stabilize Northwest Indiana economy and employ thousands with well-paying jobs

New IU report provides nearly two decades of data on the impact of Indiana nonprofits

A new study from Indiana University in collaboration with Indiana University Northwest demonstrates the significant impact of Northwest Indiana nonprofits on the economic development of the region. Research conducted by the Indiana Nonprofits Project, a collaborative effort between the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy and O'Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs, found that:

  • In 2019, nonprofits employed 33,000 workers in Northwest Indiana, with a total payroll of $1.5 billion, about 11 percent of all paid employees and 10 percent of the total payroll in the region. In fact, nonprofit employment and payroll (adjusted for inflation) have grown considerably more than for-profit or government employment.
  • Nonprofit employment trails employment in manufacturing and retail trade in the region, but the gaps have narrowed considerably. Nonprofit payroll falls behind only manufacturing, and the gap has similarly narrowed.
  • Most nonprofit employees, 63 percent, work in health care, with the rest fairly evenly distributed across social assistance, membership association, education and all other industries. Nonprofits are particularly important in health care and social assistance, accounting for about half of all employees in those fields.

"This report confirms the vital role that nonprofits play in creating a more prosperous region and a better quality of life for all who live here," said IU Northwest Chancellor Ken Iwama. "As an anchor institution for Northwest Indiana, the impact and success of regional nonprofits is very important to us."

"Community engagement is a cornerstone of the IU Northwest mission and we are eager to continue partnering with local nonprofits on community-based research and other collaborative opportunities to ensure that our region thrives," added Iwama.

The Northwest Indiana Nonprofit Economic Growth Region report is a collaborative effort between Indiana University and Indiana University Northwest and was bolstered by input from regional nonprofit leaders, including Carolyn Saxton, president of Legacy Foundation, the community foundation for Lake County, Indiana.

The report is part of a collection of new reports produced by the Indiana Nonprofits Project detailing the economic impact of nonprofits in four of Indiana’s economic growth regions. The reports are based on Quarterly Covered Employment and Wage data submitted by nearly all Indiana employers. To view the full Northwest Indiana Nonprofit Economic Growth Region report, click here.