Nonprofits are Important to our Community

Nonprofit organizations are essential to our quality of life not only because of the valuable programs they provide local citizens, but also because of the positive economic impact within our local communities.  In a recent report from the North Carolina Center for Nonprofits, interesting facts were provided about North Carolina’s nonprofits.  Did you know that nonprofits contribute $38.5 billion dollars annually to the State of North Carolina’s economy? That 400,000 individuals are employed by nonprofits across the State which means 1 in every 10 jobs is in the nonprofit sector?  How about that 2.5 million North Carolinians volunteer each year, which is 26.4% of our state’s population?  It is easy to see that nonprofits are having a very tangible impact on North Carolina communities and their economies.
This NC Center for Nonprofit report goes on to talk about the real challenges facing our nonprofits each year and cites “achieving long-term financial sustainability” and “meeting community demand for services and programs” as two of the top challenges.  In 2013 alone, 83% of nonprofits experienced an increase in demand for their services and 71% were unable to meet those demands.  
In surveying our local nonprofits, the findings have been the same, as we through United Way and other partner agencies, work to strengthen and help build capacity for our nonprofits.  We know that the need for services and support is real in our community and nonprofits provide a community-driven way to help ensure programs and services are in place when our citizens need them.  
To further address these nonprofit trends, United Way Tar River Region is again partnering with the North Carolina Community Foundation to host the second annual Leading for Tomorrow Nonprofit Capacity Building Summit on Thursday, May 21 at the Gateway Convention Center in Rocky Mount.  We will provide a day full of professional development geared towards nonprofit leaders, staff members, board directors, community volunteers, and interested citizens.  Educational sessions will focus on nonprofit management, fundraising and financial accountability, and new this year, we will host a panel discussion of Foundations and Funders who will provide information on funding opportunities to encourage short and long-term financial stability.  The environment will be interactive and great food will be provided to keep participants energized for the day, as well as, take home materials will be available to help implement what is learned during the summit.  
We have important nonprofit organizations in the twin-county region, with excellent staff members and dedicated volunteers.  The programs and services provided by local nonprofits help develop and enrich our communities in numerous ways, enhancing the quality of life for many individuals and families, as well as, encourage economic growth.  Through United Way and our other nonprofits, we are working diligently to meet the challenges we face and to be the best we can be for our community.  Join us on May 21 at our Summit so we can rise to the challenges together for the betterment of all.
By Ginny Mohrbutter, Executive Director
United Way Tar River Region