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Nonprofit sector growing

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The U.S. is home to 837,027 charitable nonprofits, up 68 percent since 1993, and the sector’s asset based is larger than the economies of all but five countries, a new study says.

“The United States Nonprofit Sector,” released by the National Council of Nonprofit Associations, based in Washington, D.C, analyzed data on tax-exempt groups from 2003.

More than two in three nonprofits in the U.S. have assets of less than $25,000 and so are not required to file reporting documents with the IRS.

The combined assets of those that do report to the IRS totaled $1.76 trillion in 2003, up from $866 billion in 1993, the report says.

Expenditures for the group totaled almost $945 billion in 2003, or about 9 percent of the U.S. gross domestic product.

Human services groups accounted for about one in three reporting nonprofits, the report says, followed by education and health care/mental health organizations.

Five percent of reporting nonprofits held more than $10 million in assets each, while the two-thirds had assets under $1 million.

California and New York had the most reporting nonprofits, while Wyoming, North Dakota and Wisconsin had the least.

Nonprofit hospitals account for less than 2 percent of nonprofits, but they hold combined assets representing almost 30 percent of the sector’s assets.

The U.S. has about 66,000 reporting private foundations, more than double the number in 1993, the report says.

Their combined assets reached $476 billion in 2003, up 150 percent over the previous decade, and their total giving almost tripled to more than $30 billion.

The largest 10 U.S. foundations held a total of $93 billion in assets, or one-fifth of all foundation assets, and distributed more than $4 billion, almost 15 percent of all foundation giving, the report says.

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation topped the list in 2003, with assets of $26.8 billion and giving of almost $1.2 billion.

The Lilly Endowment had more than $10.8 billion in assets and $462 million in giving, followed by the Ford Foundation, with about $10 billion in assets and $432 million in giving.

The average donation for people itemizing their tax deductions in 2003 was $3,283, with Wyoming claiming the highest average, $6,273 per person, and Vermont posting the lowest, $2,149.

Utah residents who itemize gave 7.5 percent of their income to charity in 2003, more than any other state, while those from Vermont, New Hampshire and Rhode Island gave 2.5 percent, lower than all other states.

Religious congregations were not included in the study.

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