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Last modified: Thursday, May 17, 2007

Survey: Collaboration between business and nonprofits strongest in Evansville

May 17, 2007

Kirsten Grønbjerg

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BLOOMINGTON, Ind -- Nonprofit organizations in the Evansville area are uniquely intertwined with the business community, according to research led by Kirsten Grønbjerg, professor in Indiana University Bloomington's School of Public and Environmental Affairs and Efroymson Chair in Philanthropy at the Center on Philanthropy at IU. Approximately 45 percent of Evansville nonprofits report that their most important collaboration or network includes for-profit organizations, in contrast to only one in five nonprofit organizations elsewhere in the state.

Grønbjerg will discuss this and other characteristics of Evansville's nonprofit sector and its impact on the region's economy Monday, May 21, at 3 p.m. in the Old National Bank auditorium, 1 Main St., in Evansville. The event is free and open to the public.

"Involvement in collaborations with for-profit organizations helps nonprofits meet the needs of their clients, increase visibility in the community, and track changes in the community and government policies," Gronbjerg said. "While it is difficult to say for sure how to interpret the greater collaborations between nonprofits and for-profit organizations in Evansville compared to elsewhere, clearly for-profits play an important role in helping Evansville nonprofits achieve these goals."

Her presentation is based on her research report, "Evansville Nonprofits: Scope and Dimensions," available online at, and her report on the economic contributions of the region's nonprofit sector, available at

Nonprofits play a significant role in the Evansville area economy, accounting for about 8.9 percent of all employment in the region, according to Grønbjerg's most recent completed analysis. Approximately 18,500 jobs in the area are nonprofit positions, she said.

"Dr. Grønbjerg's groundbreaking research on nonprofit organizations in Indiana provides a rich source of information for all communities," said Marilyn Klenck, President and CEO of the Community Foundation Alliance in Evansville. "Her research also shows that nonprofits are a necessary ingredient for vibrant communities. We are delighted that she is coming to Evansville."

Grønbjerg will discuss additional distinguishing features of the Evansville nonprofit sector. One such feature is its unusually optimistic assessment of community trends -- nonprofit employees in this area are more likely to report increases in employment opportunities and household income and less likely to report increases in crime and violence compared to other Indiana counties.

She will also address challenges faced by nonprofit organizations, such as high reliance on volunteers, limited financial resources and difficulty in recruiting and retaining qualified board members.

"Nonprofits include everything from hospitals and universities to arts and culture organizations, stamp collectors and barbershop quartets, so the issues involved in managing and supporting them are complex," she said.

This event is sponsored by the Southwest Indiana Network of Grantmakers (SING), an informal networking group that affords area grantmakers opportunities to learn from each other.

For more information or to speak with Grønbjerg, contact Elisabeth Andrews, IU Media Relations, 812-855-2153 and