A recent study by the Haines Chamber of Commerce delved into the economic and community impacts made by 16 local nonprofits. The organizations examined for the report are a cross section of educational, social and environmental agencies that provide a myriad of services to residents in the borough.
In total, the 16 nonprofits studied provide 65 jobs locally, and utilize nearly 500 volunteers. The data – collected from tax documents in either 2013, 2014 or 2015– shows that about $1.8 million in wages and benefits were paid over those years. The total expenses for all 16 nonprofits equaled around $3.4 million, while total revenue, including grants from sources outside the state, was about S3.6 million.
“Probably, I’d say 90 to 95 percent of that revenue is spent here in the community. I’d say that’s significant,” says Chamber of Commerce executive director Debra Schnabel. She says a committee was formed about a year ago with representatives from local nonprofits to figure out how to convey to the public just how valuable they are.
“There were public questions about what is the value of the nonprofits in the community, you know, what do they do, what do they serve. So, the nonprofits met and agreed that the story had to be told about what they contributed to the economy and what services they performed.”
Nonprofits examined include Haines Assisted Living, Lynn Canal Human Resources (before they partnered with SEARHC), Haines Animal Rescue Kennel, Haines Friends of Recycling and the Dolphins Swim Team. Schnabel says the nonprofits in Haines are a diverse collection and offer a little something for everyone.
“Our report basically focused on those that employ people and, or, have a strong financial impact in the community such as if they provide housing.”
The total amounts of revenue and the total expenses were calculated with and without data from Haines Assisted Living and Lynn Canal Human Resources due to the “weight of its contribution to the total.” The report left out organizations working through federal agencies, as well as tribal organizations.
According to the borough, around 70 local and regional nonprofits currently qualify for sales tax exempt status in Haines, but many of those are either no longer functioning, or not based in Haines. Schnabel acknowledged that some local organizations were left out for various reasons, including affiliations with larger, state organizations. She adds that this report is a snapshot, and that financials can change quickly.
“Mostly we just identified those that are most obvious around the community.”
While the economic outlook is uncertain, she says the numbers plucked for this study were pleasantly surprising.
“The Chamber was very pleased to be the generator of the report, primarily because we do acknowledge primarily that the nonprofits are a big part of the community and they are contributing.”
Now when members of the public ask just how important nonprofits are to Haines, Schnabel says they have some figures to back up those claims.