Blog Post

Macomb County Ranks Last for Nonprofits, According to New Advancing Macomb Study

Posted on May 11, 2022

Advancing Macomb recently commissioned a study with the Dorothy A. Johnson Center for Philanthropy at Grand Valley State University to better understand the disconnect between philanthropic need and opportunity in Macomb County. The study finds that despite ranking third in population, Macomb County ranks last in metro Detroit and Michigan for the number of charitable nonprofits per GDP.

The research found significant disparities in philanthropic investment for Macomb County based nonprofits. While Macomb County has 16% of metro Detroit’s population, it receives only 2% of grants awarded by Michigan’s private foundations and only 1% of grants awarded by the nation’s largest foundations.

The study defines metro Detroit as a 10-county region including Genessee, Lapeer, Lenawee, Livingston, Macomb, Monroe, Oakland, St. Clair, Washtenaw, and Wayne counties. The state of Michigan is defined as the top 36 counties, according to population.

  • Macomb County ranks eighth in metro Detroit for nonprofit assets.
  • Macomb County ranks seventh in metro Detroit for nonprofit income.
  • Macomb County ranks 26th in Michigan for nonprofit assets.
  • Macomb County ranks 24th in Michigan for nonprofit income.

The largest disparity falls in nonprofits with focus on education and public/societal benefit.

The study also finds that to reach the Michigan urban area median, Macomb County needs a 60% increase in nonprofit organizations and a 200% increase in nonprofit assets.

The data was compiled from reviewing the December 2020 Internal Revenue Service Business Master File and 2019 population estimates and Gross Domestic Product from the U.S. Census Bureau.

Crain’s Detroit Business recently covered the Advancing Macomb Study in its story, “With fewer nonprofits, Macomb County lags in philanthropic investment.” The story notes that in 2019 the total income for nonprofits in Macomb was $3.18 billion — a fraction of the amount secured by Oakland and Wayne counties, with $29.8 billion and $274 billion respectively.

The Crain’s article also discusses the reaction from funders to the study. According to Jim Boyle, vice president of programs and communications for the Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Foundation, “the findings from the Advancing Macomb Philanthropic Investment study are both eye-opening and validating from what we have observed in our own grantmaking to date. It’s encouraging to have this study and data at the forefront of many ongoing conversations with Advancing Macomb and other funders also looking to improve the quality of life in Macomb County.”

The Crain’s story also notes that The Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan has “recognized a lack of nonprofit infrastructure and connections between those that exist there for a long time,” according to Vice President Katie Brisson.

Moving forward, these findings create an opportunity to mobilize philanthropic support at all levels – from volunteers, community groups and municipalities to regional and national foundations. We must increase philanthropic investments in Macomb County to aid existing nonprofits and attract new organizations — our communities will only grow stronger as a result.

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