Service Org Offers Volunteer Grants

The Corporation for National and Community Service will make $800,000 in grants available to nonprofits to retain and manage volunteers. Grants between $50,000 and $200,000 are available to organizations to improve their use of volunteers in addressing social challenges.

The grants are available through a competition announced at the end of the National Conference on Volunteering and Service in Philadelphia in July. Applications for the grants are due in early September.

If your Gallatin or Park County organization has applied for one of these grants or if you have received one, please contact reporter Michael Becker.

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Nonprofit Numbers

I’ll repost this information from my my article in Sunday’s paper because I think the data’s worth thinking about.

Over the past 10 years, the number of nonprofit organizations in Montana increased by 43 percent, making the state home to roughly 9,500 nonprofits, according to the National Center for Charitable Statistics.

In Gallatin County, 531 registered organizations have 501(c)(3) status — an exemption from income taxes granted by the IRS to groups that do not distribute profits to their members or employees. Another 196 nonprofits without that IRS designation call the county home.

Using the most recent Census numbers, that’s one nonprofit for every 111 citizens in the county. Compare that to the more populous Yellowstone County, where there is one for every 206 people, and the nonprofit-rich Missoula County, which has one for every 78 residents.

Economically, Montana nonprofits employed 40,000 people and paid $1.1 billion in wages last year, according to data gathered by the Montana Nonprofit Association. In Gallatin County alone, 2,500 people work for nonprofits, and those organizations reported $200 million in revenue last year.

And when people aren’t working for nonprofits, they are often volunteering for them.

Montana ranked seventh in the nation for volunteerism in a July report by the Corporation for National and Community Service. Just over 38 percent of Montanans volunteered their time in some way last year, most of them with social service groups or educational services.

Nonprofits affect almost every citizen of Gallatin County in some way, and the sheer number of nonprofits guarantees that those who want to donate their time or money can find a suitable organization.

While this makes it easier on volunteers and donors, the situation can actually make it harder for nonprofits to accomplish their missions.

On the Cusp

I spent lunchtime in the Emerson Cultural Center’s very hot Weaver Room at the “Imagine Bozeman” workshop, put on by the Bozeman Cultural Council. The point of the seminar was to get several dozen leaders of various arts- and culture-related nonprofits thinking about how to get the city thinking about arts and culture when they plan the community’s growth, but the message that came from the workshop is one that I’ve been hearing often of late.

The time is growing near when Bozeman’s nonprofit organizations will take some steps toward organizing themselves and harnessing their collective power. To what end? That’s hard to say because the organizations are so varied and deal with so many different parts of society. As one woman said at today’s workshop, it will be hard to get multiple nonprofits to put aside their agendas and work together for the greater good.

Yet I think it’s going to happen sometime this year nonetheless. I’ll check back on this subject soon…