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Puerto Rico nonprofits create 16% of jobs, $2.2B wages

José Joaquín Villamil, president of Estudios Técnicos, outlines the findings of the nonprofits study.

José Joaquín Villamil, president of Estudios Técnicos, outlines the findings of the nonprofits study.

Puerto Rico’s nonprofit organizations have a positive economic impact on the island, producing 150,410 jobs — or 16 percent of all local employment — and some $2.2 billion in wages, according to a study presented Wednesday by the Foundations Network.

The fourth edition of the study also shows an evolving sector in the face of the island’s complex social and economic environment.

“Faced with a shrinking economic outlook, a high level of social inequality and high migration, nonprofits have adapted and continue to contribute significantly to the island,” the study showed.

The study identified 11,570 nonprofits in Puerto Rico that provide services annually to more than 700,000 people.

In terms of payroll, nonprofits that engage social services generate about $971 million, health sector organizations, $965 million, and education groups, $258 million.

When payroll and other contributions are added up, the study showed that the sector represents about 6.6 percent of Puerto Rico’s Gross National Product.

Meanwhile, the study revealed that for every dollar the government transferred to a nonprofit to provide health services and education, it would have to invest between $7 and $20 to provide the same services to citizens.

This is due in part to other resources organizations have at their disposal and the volunteer force — estimated at about 381,481 people — they count on that allows them to maximize every dollar they receive. The number of hours those volunteers dedicate to nonprofits would translate into about 23,000 full-time jobs.

Puerto Rico’s nonprofits have a diversified funding base, with individual donations (43.4 percent), fundraisers (41.8 percent), state, municipal or legislative donations (38 percent), and self-sustaining programs (31.3 percent.) About 18 percent of nonprofits have contracts to provide services to government agencies, while 13 percent have financing products from private or public entities.

Of the organizations interviewed, 54 percent have a strategic plan. Of these, 8 out of 10 conducted evaluations to measure compliance with those plans, the study showed.

“In an environment of limited resources, 4 out of 10 organizations have moved to establishing alliances with other entities,” the study showed. “About 76.6 percent of nonprofits stated as the main reason to partner with others a desire to impact the greatest number of people in their service areas.”

Meanwhile, more than half, or 59.9 percent, rely on partnerships to impact people in areas of complementary services not offered by nonprofits. On the other hand, 51.5 percent make use of partnerships for technical assistance and support in program areas, the study showed.

The Foundations Network comprises nine Puerto Rico nonprofits, namely: the Ángel Ramos Foundation, Banco Popular Foundation, Puerto Rico Community Foundation, Fundación Flamboyán, Foundation for Puerto Rico, Miranda Foundation, Ana G. Méndez University System, Titín Foundation, and the United Way.

The group commissioned research firm Estudios Técnicos to conduct the study, which was presented Wednesday by its President, José Joaquín Villamil.

Author Details
Author Details
Business reporter with 30 years of experience writing for weekly and daily newspapers, as well as trade publications in Puerto Rico. My list of former employers includes Caribbean Business, The San Juan Star, and the Puerto Rico Daily Sun, among others. My areas of expertise include telecommunications, technology, retail, agriculture, tourism, banking and most other segments of Puerto Rico’s economy.

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