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June 29, 2016

Peter Callstrom speaks on minimum wage panel at USD State of Nonprofits & Philanthropy SummitOn June 28, approximately 225 people attended the annual University of San Diego State of Nonprofits and Philanthropy Summit to learn more about key topics important to the nonprofit sector. Key findings from the annual report of the same name were shared, describing the capacity, contributions and overall economic health and well-being of San Diego’s nonprofit and philanthropic sector. The report is a compilation of the quarterly State of Nonprofits Index and other nonprofit research, including a survey based on the perspectives of local nonprofit leaders.

According to the executive summary shared at the summit, “The number of nonprofit organizations is rebounding to pre-recession levels, while revenues and nonprofit employment continue on an upward trend. Nonprofits remain an important contributor to the local economy … Nonprofit leaders report an increase in demand for their organization’s services and are confronting workforce development issues resulting from changes to the minimum wage and the retirement of many seasoned leaders…”

SDWP President and CEO Peter Callstrom participated on a panel titled “Minimum Wage and Workforce Development in the Nonprofit Sector,” along with Clare Crawford, Executive Director of Center on Policy Initiatives, and Michael Rowan, President and CEO of Goodwill San Diego County.

The panelists engaged in a dialogue about the new California law that increases the minimum wage to $15 per hour, touching on the facts, benefits, and challenges with a minimum wage increase, new overtime regulations, and other workforce and economic development issues facing nonprofits in San Diego communities.

The audience heard how the minimum wage increase is crucial because though the economy had recovered from the recession, affordability hasn’t. The overall economy was worse in 2014 than during the recession; one in four families headed by a full-time employee still lives below the self-sufficient wage line. These employees are paid inadequate wages, which are not enough to cover the basics.

Many nonprofit leaders are in favor of the increase because it has the potential to improve the lives of many low-income individuals and the communities their organizations serve. Some nonprofit leaders are, however, concerned about how the wage increase will impact their organizations’ budget and long-term sustainability.

Key to mitigating the impact of increases to the minimum wage is a diversification of funding streams. Many nonprofit organizations have developed meaningful private sector partnerships.

In order to forge such these relationships and private sector investments, Callstrom says, “we need to get the word out about nonprofit challenges and to prove the ongoing return on investment.”
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