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June 8, 2015

On Friday, June 5, more than 200 people attended the State of Nonprofits and Philanthropy Summit hosted by the University of San Diego (USD) School of Leadership and Education Sciences (SOLES) Caster Family Center for Nonprofit and Philanthropic Research, during which they released Annual Report: State of Nonprofits & Philanthropy in San Diego. The report finds that overall, San Diego’s nonprofit sector is continuing to grow in size and moving in a positive direction.Some highlights from the report include:

  • In San Diego County, there are 12,832 501(c) nonprofit organizations, 9,847 of which are 501(c)(3) public charities, amounting to 8 percent of all California public charities.
  • There are 2,201 paid employees working in nonprofits (8.1 percent of San Diego employment).
  • Nonprofit employees earn a total of $5.2 billion in wages (7.3 percent of San Diego wages).
  • Employment in the sector is up 11 percent since 2009, compared to 4 percent of all other employment in San Diego. 

Pat Libby, Director of the Nonprofit Institute, gave keynote remarks addressing the difference between unrestricted giving and “donor advised funds,” the latter of which have grown significantly since 2001. While this type of funding ensures funds are spent in a responsible manner, it also stifles innovative ideas to improve or create new programs. If donors choose to go back to the old unrestricted model of funding, nonprofits that receive those funds will have to be transparent and accountable in their work.

In addition, a panel of local nonprofit leaders convened to share their thoughts on the state of the nonprofit sector. The panel consisted of:

  • Paula Cordeiro, Dean, USD School of Leadership and Education Sciences
  • Michael Rosenberg, Managing Director, La Jolla Playhouse
  • Javier Guerrero, Executive Director, San Diego Children’s Discovery Museum
  • Alejandra Sotelo-Solis, Councilmember, National City

The panel discussed a number of challenges facing the nonprofit sector in San Diego, including funding, innovation and collaboration. Rosenberg noted that conducting outreach to communities implies a one-way street, but instead, nonprofits should be engaging in dialogue with communities they are serving.

The full Annual Report: State of Nonprofits and Philanthropy in San Diego can be found here.


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