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UCR Study: Nonprofit Growth in Inland Empire at Risk Due to COVID-19

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Researchers at the University of California Riverside(UCR) say the COVID-19 pandemic could reverse the Inland Empire’s decade of growth in nonprofits.

Non-profit startups have increased by 42 percent over the last decade in the Inland Empire, but it could all be at risks due to pandemic related financial hits says Dr. Karthick Ramakrishnan, Director of the Center for Social Innovation at UCR.

"One of the challenges now is that there is a lot of attention on small businesses and how vital they are to the economy," says Ramakrishnan. "That logic also applies to nonprofits. People may not realize, a nonprofit is also a business."

His team is in the process of collecting a series a surveys and recently released some new findings. Not only do nonprofits provide essential services in areas like health, and work with vulnerable populations, but they provide good paying jobs and make up seven percent of the economic input for the Inland Empire.

“They are so critical to ensure economic recovery as well as the health and well-being of our populations that its critical for us to pay attention and to invest in them," says Ramakrishnan.

And investments are key given his team found that while the Inland Empire leads the state with the greatest share of nonprofit startups, they lag behind neighboring counties in donations like Orange County who has a 30 percent smaller population.

Ramaskrishnan says one of the solutions is to build coalitions and combine resources —which the nonprofit sector was already beginning to see a trend in. For more information on local coalitions and tools for nonprofits visit www.iecovidresponse.org