Dmitri N. Shalin

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The Social Health of Nevada: Leading Indicators and Quality of Life in the Silver State


UNLV: Center for Democratic Culture Publications

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The state of Nevada changed rapidly in recent decades enjoying one of the longest and most sustained population and economic growth periods in the nation followed by a severe period of economic contraction and recession (Brookings Mountain West, 2011). Nearly a decade after the Silver State was hit by the Great Recession, the overall economic indicators for 2018 suggest Nevada’s economy is now on solid ground with steady growth predicted for the near future (Banning 2018). The picture for Nevada’s nonprofit sector is not nearly as clear with some indicators suggesting growth and other suggesting struggle.

This chapter explores the state of nonprofit organizations in Nevada, tracks the changes the sector has expereinced in the last five years, compares the state’s nonprofit sector to similar states across the region, and outlines the social and economic impact of nonprofit organizastions and charitable activities on the wellbeing of Nevada. We should bear in mind that the state’s ability to attract business and ensure economic growth hinges on the health and well-being of its nonprofit sector and community services. These organizations are a vital part of building a civil society and a sense of community in the Silver State (Saxton & Benson 2005; Boris 1999; Putnam 2001).

Additionally, research suggests that nonprofit organizations are an important driver of employment, and they offer more stable jobs during economic downturns (Salamon, Sokolowski & Geller 2012).

This report will draw on data available from the Nonprofit Works Project (2018) from John’s Hopkins University’s Center for Civil Society Studies and data from the National Center for Charitable Statistics (NCCS) Business Master Files (BMF) and Core Files (CORE).

Nonprofit organizations are an important part of Nevada’s social health. Nonprofits deliver critical social, educational and health services to citizens from every economic and cultural background in communities throughout the state. They enrich lives by expressing important social and cultural values through artistic and cultural events. They also serve the state’s business sector in the form of associations and professional societies. In total, they serve the very important role of uniting individuals and organizations into communities.

Despite the prominent role of nonprofits in so many areas of the state’s communities, there is a limited understanding of their value and overall impact in the State of Nevada and nationally. This chapter documents a key role these organizations play not only in the lives of individuals but also for the entire state as it continues to evolve and diversify economically and politically.

The nonprofit sector includes a wide array of institutions varying in size, staff, and organizational structure. Some nonprofits operate from individual’s homes and are so small that IRS used to exempt them from filing requirements. As of 2008, all nonprofit organizations regardless of size have been required at least to file an “E-Post Card” with the IRS to confirm their continuing operations. Since the data about very small nonprofits is limited, we shall focus on organizations with at least $50,000 a year in annual revenues (IRS.gov, 2018).


Nonprofit organizations; Nevada's social health; Charity


Community-Based Research | Regional Sociology | Work, Economy and Organizations

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Jessica K.A. Word. 2018. “Nonprofits and Philanthropy in Nevada.” In The Social Health of Nevada: Leading Indicators and Quality of Life in the Silver State, edited by Dmitri N. Shalin. Las Vegas, NV: UNLV Center for Democratic Culture, http://cdclv.unlv.edu