Illinois’s Donors Forum Challenges SOI of State Budget Cuts

Illinois’s Donors Forum Challenges SOI of State Budget Cuts

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The Illinois Donors Forum, which serves as both the state’s nonprofit association and grantmakers association, is pursuing a different strategy than Connecticut’s with the issuance of three reports demonstrating the social value of state-subsidized programs in youth services, the environment, and arts and culture. Working with the Social Impact Research Center on these studies funded by the Wallace Foundation, the Donors Forum found the following:

  • For every dollar invested in the Arts and Culture field, there is a $27 socioeconomic return.
  • For every dollar invested in the Environment field, there is a $58 socioeconomic return.
  • For every dollar invested in the Youth Development field, there is a $45 socioeconomic return.

These studies are part of a “Building a Stronger Illinois” campaign created by the Donors Forum to get the message out about the tangible, quantitative importance of the nonprofit sector, which in these reports the Donors Forum calls the “social impact sector.” The three reports provide calculations of the “Social Return on Investment” for each programmatic category, giving the potential qualitative impacts of nonprofit activities quantitative dollar values. For example, in the arts and culture report, the researchers come up with dollar values to the increased earnings of youth who graduate high school due to the availability of arts and culture programs, the improved mental or physical health of individuals whose stress and anxiety is reduced as a result of arts and culture, and the increased life satisfaction generated as a result of individuals’ volunteering for and helping to advance arts and culture programming, just to name three of the kinds of ROI attributed to these investments.

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Nonprofit Quarterly
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