Donna Murray-Brown, president and CEO of the Michigan Nonprofit Association, said nonprofits' durability during the 2008 housing crisis illustrates the industry stepping up during a time of need.
"Many times it's during an economic crisis that's when the needs of nonprofits escalate," she said. "It is the sense of stability that the community can rely upon, know there are providers out there to pull them through."
But while nonprofits maintained employment numbers across the state, the industry suffered legislative setbacks in recent years. In 2013, Michigan eliminated income tax deductions for donations to many nonprofits, including community foundations, state universities, public libraries, homeless shelters, and food banks. The move saved the state $35 million per year, but took away a popular tax credit that encouraged donations to nonprofits. The result? Donations are down this year, Murray-Brown said.