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IU Center on Philanthropy

Jenny Cohen
IU School of Public and Environmental Affairs

Last modified: Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Nonprofits are major force in Muncie area economy, IU studies find

July 11, 2006

Kristen Gronbjerg

Print-Quality Photo

INDIANAPOLIS -- Nonprofit organizations play an important role in the Muncie, Ind., economy, according to two new reports released today (July 11) by the Indiana University Center on Philanthropy and School of Public and Environmental Affairs.

More than one in 10 paid employees (10.4 percent) in the six-county Muncie economic region and more than one in eight (12.4 percent) in Delaware County is employed in the nonprofit sector, according to the Muncie Economic Region Nonprofit Employment: 2005 Report.

By comparison, 8.1 percent of paid employees in the state of Indiana are employed by nonprofits. More people work in the Muncie area nonprofit sector than in the region's finance, insurance, real estate and construction industries combined.

Despite higher rates of nonprofit employment, however, Muncie/Delaware County nonprofits are smaller than those in other metropolitan regions of the state, according to findings in a second report, Muncie Nonprofits: Scope and Dimensions. Some 85 percent of Muncie area nonprofits employ fewer than six full-time equivalent (FTE) staff members, compared with 76 percent in other major metropolitan areas in Indiana.

"These reports provide community and public policy leaders, nonprofit professionals and citizens with detailed information about the scope and contributions of the nonprofit sector in Indiana communities," said project director, Kristen Grønbjerg. "They offer communities a systematic way to assess how their local nonprofits' economic contributions, management challenges and organizational capacities compare with those of nonprofits elsewhere in the state. No other state has a similar richness of information about this important sector."

Grønbjerg is the Efroymson Chair in Philanthropy at the Center on Philanthropy and professor of nonprofit management in SPEA at IU Bloomington. In 2005, she was honored with a lifetime achievement award by the national Association for Research on Nonprofit Organizations and Voluntary Action.

The two reports use different approaches to profile the area's nonprofit sector and highlight some of the notable differences between the Muncie region, including Delaware County and surrounding areas, and the rest of the state, along with six other metropolitan areas including Bloomington, Indianapolis, Fort Wayne, South Bend, the Northwest region and Evansville. The Muncie region reports were sponsored by the Ball Brothers Foundation.

"The 21st Century economy raises the question, how do we in Indiana embrace and engage in a global economy while still facilitating a high quality of life in Muncie and East Central Indiana?" said Douglas Bakken, executive vice president and cheif operating officer of the Ball Brothers Foundation. "These two excellent reports provide our community with a plethora of useful information and great insights into the nonprofit sector."

The Nonprofit Employment report shows that nonprofits provide more than four-fifths of all employment in social assistance organizations and two-fifths of all employment in health services in the six-county Muncie economic region. About 60 percent of area nonprofit employment is based in the health services field.

Other key findings:

  • The region's 12,000 nonprofit employees earned about $323 million in total payroll in 2003.
  • Average weekly wages for local nonprofit workers were 9 percent lower than those of employees in the for-profit sector and 12 percent lower than those of government workers. However, nonprofit weekly wages were similar to (and in some cases higher than) for-profit wages in industries where nonprofit employment was concentrated.
  • The number of paid nonprofit employees in the Muncie economic region grew by 13.2 percent between 2001 and 2003, significantly faster than the growth in government employment (up by 2.8 percent); the for-profit sector employment declined by 8.1 percent.
  • Over half of the overall growth in nonprofit employees between 2001 and 2003 was in the health field. However, the social assistance field grew the fastest -- by 30 percent. The field consists of individual and family services, job training services and child daycare services.
  • Delaware County, which by itself accounted for more than half of all nonprofit employment in the six-county region, saw an increase in nonprofit employment of 13.9 percent between 2000 and 2003.

The second report, which profiles Muncie and Delaware County nonprofits, shows that the county's nonprofits largely resemble those in other parts of Indiana. However, there are some important differences:

  • Fully 84 percent of Muncie nonprofits use volunteers, compared with 73 percent elsewhere in the state.
  • Only 23 percent of the Muncie nonprofits have a Web site, compared to 43 percent of nonprofits in the six other metropolitan areas.
  • Area nonprofits reported fewer challenges in recruiting and keeping board members and in managing human resources than nonprofits in the other metro regions.

The Muncie reports are part of the larger Indiana Nonprofits: Scope and Community Dimensions project begun in 1999. The project is the most comprehensive state-wide study of its kind ever compiled in the United States. It includes but goes substantially beyond the types of nonprofits most familiar to the public. It encompasses traditional charities, but also incorporates churches, advocacy and voluntary associations, and includes nonprofits identified through a wide variety of sources and surveys. The project also is unique in that it is designed to allow for systematic regional comparisons of the nonprofit sector.

The new reports and other findings about the Indiana nonprofit sector can be accessed at

Funding for the analysis on which the two reports are based was provided by the Ball Brothers Foundation. Primary funding for the overall study was provided by the Center on Philanthropy at IU's Indiana Research Fund, supported in part by Lilly Endowment Inc. Other major funding came from The Indianapolis Foundation's support of the Efroymson Chair in Philanthropy and the Aspen Institute's Nonprofit Sector Research Fund. Additional funding and in-kind support for the regional studies has been provided by the Non-Profit Institute at IU Northwest; the IU Foundation; the Chancellor's office at IU Bloomington; WBH Evansville Inc.; The Center for Urban Policy and the Environment at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis; the School of Public and Environmental Affairs on IU's Bloomington, Indianapolis, South Bend, Northwest and Fort Wayne campuses; Ball State University; and the University of Southern Indiana.

Muncie Economic Region Nonprofit Employment: 2005 Report (Nonprofit Employment Series Report #2C) is co-authored by Grønbjerg and Kerry S. Brock. Muncie Nonprofits: Scope and Dimensions (Nonprofit Survey Series Community Report #3), is authored by Grønbjerg and Patricia Borntrager Tennen. Both reports are joint projects of the Center on Philanthropy at IU and SPEA.

SPEA, which is located on eight campuses, is committed to teaching, research and service in areas such as public and nonprofit management, public policy, environmental science, criminal justice, arts administration and health administration. The school maintains continuing relationships with a large number of public agencies at all levels of government; public and private hospitals and health organizations; and nonprofit organizations and corporations in the private sector. SPEA has earned national distinction for innovative educational programs that combine administrative, social, economic, financial and environmental disciplines.

The Center on Philanthropy at IU is a leading academic center dedicated to increasing the understanding of philanthropy and improving its practice through research, teaching, public service and public affairs programs in philanthropy, fundraising and management of nonprofit organizations. The center and the philanthropic studies faculty conduct basic and applied research about contemporary and historical issues in philanthropy, nonprofit organizations, the nonprofit sector, giving, fundraising, voluntary action and public policy issues linked to philanthropic activity. A part of the IU School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI, the center operates programs on the IUPUI and IU Bloomington campuses.