Together we solve problems that no organization can solve alone.

Why Nonprofits?


What is a nonprofit?

An organization without a profit objective, which exists for the public good.

How many nonprofits are in the DC region?

There are 4,082 local nonprofits in the Greater Washington Region. In addition, Washington is home to 3,532 national and international nonprofits. These 7,614 nonprofits provide more than 218,000 jobs, generating approximately $9.6 billion in annual wages and taxes.

What is the value of having nonprofits in a community?

1) Cost savings to society

Cost savings may be immediate, such as when residents use community-based health care as opposed to expensive emergency rooms, or gradual, such as job training programs that increase salaries and return people to the workforce.


  • 9 out of 10 graduates from the Training Futures program at Northern Virginia Family Service secure full-time employment, and 75% have increased their annual salaries from an average of $16,000 to $28,000. This one program has helped over 1,000 people.
  • In 2000, it cost $425 per day for St. Elizabeth's Hospital to care for a person with a serious mental illness. Cornerstone provides affordable housing in the community, and keeping their clients out of hospitals, for $175.
  • In 2006, The Coalition for the Homeless in DC helped 333 formerly homeless people get jobs, resulting in annual taxable incomes of more than $4.8 million.

2) Multiplying impact

Nonprofits leverage public, corporate, and philanthropic assets to fulfill their missions. They supplement these funding sources with donated goods and services and by harnessing the power of volunteers.


  • In 2007, Greater DC Cares facilitated the investment of almost $6 million worth of volunteer assets to more than 400 nonprofits around the region.
  • Manna Food Center turns each dollar of cash into $5 worth of food through food donations and distribution.
  • Piedmont Environmental Council conserves 2 acres for each acre bought by the government, doubling the impact of every taxpayer dollar spent on conservation.

3) Strengthening community

Nonprofits connect people to each other and to resources, play and essential role in the region's safety net, improve the quality of life, engage people on civic issues, and stimulate reform.


  • As part of the Fairfax County Affordable Housing Preservation Action Committee, Reston Interfaith successfully advocated for one penny of the county real estate tax to be devoted to the preservation of affordable housing. In the first two years, the fund generated $40 million and preserved more than 1,550 units of affordable housing.
  • The Urban Alliance Foundation is a comprehensive employment program for DC high school students. 96% of their participants finished high school, as opposed to the less that 60% of DC public school students. And while only 29% of DC public school students go on to college, 88% of youth who finish the Urban Alliance program go to college.
  • Tahrirh Justice Center has developed a network of volunteer health care professionals who provide pro bono medical care and expert testimony for immigrant women and girls fleeing violence.

How do nonprofits use government money?

In many areas, nonprofits deliver results for the people and communities they serve in fiscally prudent ways. For this reason, the government offers grants for services they cannot provide themselves. Nonprofits then compete for these grants through an application process which requires them to prove good outcomes, financial standing, and ethical standards.

For example, it costs the state of Maryland $25,000 a year for each child who remains in the child welfare system. The nonprofit Adoptions Together works with government to place children with families at an annual cost of just $7,200. It's good for the child, who benefits from having a permanent home and a family for life, and it's more cost-effective for Maryland.


All data are from Beyond Charity.