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Study Shows Impact of Non-Profits in Springfield Community

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- If we told you one industry had an impact to the tune of billions of dollars in Springfield each year, would you be surprised to know it is the nonprofits that serve our community?
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- If we told you one industry had an impact to the tune of billions of dollars in Springfield each year, would you be surprised to know it is the nonprofits that serve our community?

According to the 2014 Nonprofit Impact Study from Drury University, those nonprofits employ more than half the people in Springfield.

The study says Drury found more than 1,500 nonprofits operating in the City of Springfield and several hundred of those operate just with volunteers.

According to one of the study's authors, the recession and revenue losses over the last several years mean nonprofits have to step in where government and private industry are falling short.

For nonprofit executive directors some things about this report were not surprising.

"The quality of life would be significantly less, there'd be significantly more homelessness, significantly more hunger, significantly more family violence," said Ozarks Food Harvest Executive Director Bart Brown

But, others were.

"I was surprised at the small number of agencies actually addressing red flag issues as their primary goal," said Brown

The Drury University Nonprofit Impact Study says the city's areas of greatest need defined by "red flags" bi-annualy in the Community Focus Report aren't the issues that receive the most attention from nonprofits.

Those red flags fall into four categories poverty, insufficient funding, concerns for children and youth and lack of investment in prevention efforts.

The study says of 1,565 nonprofits only 25 deal with red flag issues as their primary mission, that is just 5 percent.

The study says, however, looking at the non-profits that make up the 5 percent those nonprofits have shown a year over year positive revenue trend and a growth of 50 million dollars invested in youth services, food and nutrition and human services. That's a 1.2 percent revenue gain according to the study.

"It really illustrates how strained trying respond to some of these red flag issues when there's a relatively small amount of organizations that are actively doing so," says Brown.

One of the study's authors, Dan Prater, says these nonprofits are under a lot pressure. Prater is with the Center for Nonprofit Communication at Drury University.

"One of the reasons the nonprofits are extremely important is there has been a seismic shift based on our recession of the last few years and many of the things that used to be done by government have been cut by necessity and as a result they're asking the non-profit organizations to do those roles," said Prater.

Prater says Springfield falls in the middle range in terms of numbers of nonprofits without significant overlap.

The study also says it is important a database of all the non-profits be established for new community members to understand their resources
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