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Stories of Nonprofit Impact: Building a Prosperous Creative Economy

by Molly O'Connell

MANP recently release the 3rd edition of Partners in Prosperity: The Maine Nonprofit Sector Impact, which showcases the powerful social and economic impact of nonprofits in our state. We’ve been featuring stories from the report here on our blog, and encourage nonprofits, public officials, and community members to download and read the full report for free.

Our fifth featured story of nonprofit impact highlights the broad impact of nonprofit arts organizations in Portland.

Partners in Prosperity Case Study: Building a Prosperous Creative Economy

The Impact

Local Portland nonprofit arts and culture organizations are a significant industry that generates $49.2 million in total economic activity, supporting 1,535 full-time equivalent jobs, generating $35.4 million in household income to local residents, and delivering $5 million in local and state government revenue. In addition to the hard currency spent in the city, an estimated value of over $3 million in volunteer time and in-kind donations was contributed to increase the amount and quality of experiences that attract people to the city, 32% of whom live outside of the county in which the events took place.

The Story Behind the Impact

Nonprofit arts and culture organizations employ people locally, purchase goods and services from within the community, and market and promote their regions. Arts events within the community keep residents and their discretionary spending close to home, and attract visitors who spend additional money on lodging, parking, restaurant dinners, and local retail stores. In 2010, $26.5 million in spending by these organizations was added to by $22.6 million in event-related spending by audiences, to generate a total of $49.2 million in economic activity.The volunteerism and in-kind contributions show the extent of local support for these organizations. According to Americans for the Arts, during 2010, a total of 1,766 volunteers donated a total of 67,645 hours to the City of Portland’s surveyed nonprofit arts and culture organizations, a donation of time with an estimated value of $1,444,897. In-kind contributions of products and services, with an aggregate value of $1,687,926, were received from a variety of sources including corporations, individuals, local and state arts agencies, and government.

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