Like state and local governments and private businesses,
America's 1.4 million nonprofit organizations have many major
"shovel-ready" infrastructure projects on hold because of the
credit crisis, according to a new survey by the Johns Hopkins
University Nonprofit Listening Post Project. For a country
eager to promote employment, these projects offer an inviting
Nonprofits always struggle to generate investment capital due to
their nonprofit status and their inability to access the equity
markets, but the survey results show that the recession has
compounded their woes: The 1,837 organizations surveyed
identified 1,065 shovel-ready projects stalled by the inability
to secure financing.
The participating organizations differ widely in size, cover all
regions and represent a diverse array of fields, including
children and family services, elderly services and housing,
community development, arts and culture, and others. Based on
survey results, the researchers estimate that even excluding
hospitals and higher education, which were not covered in this
survey, nonprofit organizations nationwide have more than $166
billion worth of community infrastructure projects ready to go if
funding were available.
"As Congress, the president and state governments begin making
concrete plans for allocating the economic recovery funds
recently enacted by Congress, they would do well to consider the
considerable backlog of worthy projects stalled at the country's
nonprofit organizations," said Lester M. Salamon, director of the
Johns Hopkins Center for
Civil Society Studies, which conducted this survey as part of
its Listening Post Project.
Peter Goldberg, president of the Alliance for Children and
Families and chairman of the Listening Post Project Steering
Committee, said, "Nonprofit infrastructure projects have the
double benefit of strengthening our communities and generating
jobs--both of which are needed in this time of testing for our
Examples of projects delayed indefinitely by the credit crisis
include the Southside Youth Center planned by the 25-year-old San
Antonio Youth Centers to provide a deeply impoverished community
with classrooms, a workforce training center and a child
development center, and the 105- year-old Family Service of
Roanoke Valley's plans to renovate a downtown facility to provide
mental health services for children, families and older
Other key findings of this survey include:
♦ More than 40 percent of the responding organizations
reported that they had "shovel- ready" infrastructure projects,
and 13 percent said they had more than one.
♦ Of these projects, 27 percent are for new construction,
and 73 percent are renovations or expansions.
♦ Examples of these projects, in addition to those cited
above, include an employment training center in Kentucky, a
social enterprise and volunteer center in Michigan, the expansion
and renovation of a children's museum and art gallery in Florida
and a range of continuing-care facilities, brownfield cleanup
efforts, river restoration projects and physical improvements to
California and New York head the list of states with sizable
amounts of estimated shovel-ready nonprofit infrastructure
projects, but sizable amounts exist in virtually all states.
"Thanks to this eye-opening data, we now know about existing
significant opportunities not just to stimulate employment but
also to improve the social infrastructure of our communities,"
said Tim Delaney, president and CEO of the National Council of
Nonprofits, a Listening Post partner organization. "Let's make
sure nonprofit infrastructure projects are given as much
consideration as roads, public buildings and businesses in the
uses made of economic recovery and bank bailout funds."
The full text of the report, 'Shovel-Ready' but Stalled:
Nonprofit Infrastructure Projects Ready for Economic Recovery
Support, complete with state-by-state estimates, is available
The Listening Post Project is a collaborative undertaking of the
Center for Civil Society Studies at the Johns Hopkins University
Institute for Policy Studies
and 10 other entities. Its goal is to monitor the health of the
nation's nonprofit organizations and assess how nonprofits are
responding to important economic and policy changes.
Support for the Listening Post Project has been provided by the
Carnegie Corporation of New York; the Bill and Melinda Gates,
Ewing Marion Kauffman, Kresge, Charles Stewart Mott and Surdna
foundations; and the Rockefeller Brothers Fund.