The recently released Civil Society Impact Study found the economic and social impact of more than 1,000 local registered charities amounted to $4 billion in direct local economic activity in 2016. When combined with activity which indirectly supports the sector, that total was over $6.8 billion!

What is the value of a Civil Society?

Study shows non-profits offer the region top economic impact

What’s the value of the not-for-profit sector in Greater Victoria?

Certainly there are the social benefits that can’t be underestimated, but what about the economic benefits?

A new study from the University of Victoria and the Victoria Foundation shows that impact can’t be underestimated, either.

The impact of a Civil Society

The recently released Civil Society Impact Study measured the economic and social impact of more than 1,000 local registered charities – also known as civil society.

The results? Not only did the sector generate more than $4 billion in direct local economic activity in 2016, but when combined with activity which indirectly supports the sector, that total reached over $6.8 billion!

“This research finally gives civil society organizations the credit they deserve,” says Victoria Foundation CEO Sandra Richardson. “We already knew that the sector was incredibly valuable to our community, but this study has shown definitively that it’s right up there with tourism and the tech sectors as one of the most important to our region’s economic and social wellbeing.”

In comparison, studies undertaken for those sectors indicate an economic impact of:

  • Tech Sector (2017) – $5.22 billion, a combined direct ($4.06B) and indirect ($1.26B) economic impact.
  • Tourism (2016) – $2.3 billion, a combined direct, indirect and induced economic output.
  • Victoria International Airport (2017) – $880 million, a combined direct ($540M), indirect ($200M) and induced ($140M).

While research methodologies can differ, and typically rely on some extrapolation, the Civil Society study is unique in that researchers had reams of data to call upon. Because charities must file annual accounts with Canada Revenue Agency, all monies coming in and going out were clearly highlighted for every charitable organization in the region.

Why are Civil Society economics important?

Reflecting Civil Society’s contribution to the Capital Region economy, including GDP income, full-time equivalent jobs and municipal taxes supported by the non-profits’ spending, that equates to 63,000 full-time equivalent jobs and over $300 million in annual municipal taxes.

With multiplier effects, that rises to the equivalent of 122,000 jobs and almost $584 million in municipal taxes!

Outside economics, the social contributions made by local civil society organizations is also significant. Using the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals as a framework, results show civil society organizations are making significant contributions to all 17 Goals at the individual, community and systems levels.

“The economic impact is tremendous and the stories that we collected provide an incredibly rich narrative of the ways these organizations are making positive and vital contributions to society and the planet,” says Lead Researcher Dr. Crystal Tremblay, Special Advisor on Community-Engaged Scholarship at UVic.

To learn more, or read the full report, visit victoriafoundation.bc.ca

***

Established in 1936, the Victoria Foundation is Canada’s second oldest community foundation and the sixth largest of nearly 200 nation-wide. Managing charitable gifts from donors whose generosity allows them to create permanent, income-earning funds, proceeds from these funds are distributed as grants for charitable or educational purposes. To date the Victoria Foundation has invested more than $222 million in people, projects and non-profit organizations strengthening communities in B.C. and throughout Canada.

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