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Colorado nonprofits boost state economy

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The nonprofit sector in Colorado is growing faster than the for-profit sector and added $2.1 billion to the state’s economy in 2006, a new report says.

Jobs in the state’s nonprofit sector grew 39 percent from 1995 to 2006, outpacing growth of 22 percent from the business sector, says Return on Investment, a report from the Colorado Nonprofit Association in Denver.

Colorado’s 123,000 full-time nonprofit employees, who make up 5.6 percent of the state’s workforce, earned a combined $4.2 billion in 2005, generating $240 million in sales and income taxes for state and local governments.

And when including the state’s full-time volunteer workforce, nonprofit sector employment is larger than all but two industries, the report says.

The sector represents 5 percent of the Colorado’s gross state product, making it a greater economic force than the state’s mining, transportation, agriculture and utilities industries combined, the report says.

Nonprofits attract investment to the state as well, bringing $900 million from outside Colorado each year.

Those dollars circulate through the economy, providing a net impact of more than $2.1 billion, the report says.

The study was conducted by the Johns Hopkins Center for Civil Society Studies and Denver-based Corona Research, with funding support from Qwest, Community First Foundation and the Colorado Housing and Finance Authority.

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