A new study found the nonprofit sector employs 33,000 people in Northwest Indiana with a total payroll of $1.5 billion.

To qualify, nonprofits must serve vulnerable populations in communities that are served by Franciscan Health. The health care system is particularly looking for programs that would help populations most in need, such as at-risk youths, refugees and immigrants, those with chronically low resources, and victims of systemic racism.

The report by an Indiana University professor with the Indiana Nonprofits Project found nonprofit employment trails employment in only the manufacturing and retail trade sectors in the Calumet Region, and the gap has narrowed over the past 20 years. Nonprofits now account for about 11% of all paid employees and 10% of the total payroll in Northwest Indiana.

"Since 2000, each of these regions have faced major economic challenges as jobs in manufacturing declined significantly from 2000 to 2010, with limited recovery in the following nine years," said Kirsten Gronbjerg, director of the Indiana Nonprofits Project. "The Great Recession created losses also in other industries. By comparison, over the 2000-2019 period, nonprofit employment and payroll grew in almost all regions, and often at faster rates than corresponding rates in the for-profit or government sectors. Clearly, the nonprofit sector played a stabilizing role in the economy of each region."

In Northwest Indiana, nonprofit payroll falls behind only manufacturing, the Indiana Nonprofits Project study found. Nonprofit jobs have grown faster than for-profit and government employment over the past two decades, particularly in health care.

An estimated 63% of nonprofit employees in the Region work in health care. The rest are employed in social assistance, membership association, education and other industries. Nearly half of all health care and social assistance workers in Northwest Indiana are employed by nonprofits.
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