The Financial Health of Greater Philadelphia Nonprofits: Research Note

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Commissioned through a partnership between HealthSpark Foundation, the United Way of Greater Philadelphia Southern New Jersey, Scattergood Foundation, and the Nonprofit Repositioning Fund, this report speaks to the financial health of the Greater Philadelphia five-county area nonprofits. It compares the financial health and resiliency of our region's nonprofit organizations in 2018, compared to 2014, using data from the IRS Form 990. This report is an updated assessment of the original analysis, available here.

When looking at the sector as a whole, the report shows some encouraging trends from 2014 to 2018, including:

  • a 21 percent increase in total revenues (including a 31 percent increase in contributions)
  • a 31 percent increase in net philanthropy
  • a 33 percent growth in securities and investments
  • a 35 percent increase in unrestricted net assets
  • an almost doubling of months of operating reserves from 1.6 to 3 months

Still, other data emphasize concerning patterns that pre-dated the onset of 2020's crises and that do not yet factor in present and future setbacks. Many of these organizations were able to quickly respond to COVID-19 but, according to the report, did not enter the year from an aggregate position of financial strength or stability. The data reveals the sector experienced an eight percent decrease in net income and a $62 million increase in combined deficit just within those four years.

“This report should be a wake-up call to all funders and nonprofits that business as usual was not so great for most organizations before 2020,” said Russell Johnson, President and CEO of the HealthSpark Foundation and Chair of the Nonprofit Repositioning Fund. “As we emerge from the pandemic, the way forward will not be to seek recovery to a way of working that was inadequate, but rather to make significant changes to the way we operate as a sector.”

The full report is available for download below.