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Fewer in number, Minnesota charities provide more services

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The landscape for Minnesota charitable organizations and nonprofits has changed in the aftermath of the recession.

A report in the Pioneer Press finds that there are now fewer charitable and nonprofit agencies than there were seven years ago as the collapse of the economy began. The story said that despite that, the number of employees working at those organizations continued to grow, and the service locations for them are also on the rise. During the recession, many organizations were involved in mergers to increase efficiency.

The story said that employment in the non-profit sector over the past seven years has jumped by 8.7 percent, while the number of non-profit employers has fallen by almost the same amount, 8.6 percent, in that same time. The numbers come from the 2013 Minnesota Nonprofit Economy Update from the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits.

The newspaper account quotes leaders in the industry who report that charitable giving in Minnesota also seems healthier. Statewide numbers on philanthropic giving should be available shortly after the end of the year.

Despite that, KARE reports that the Twin Cities Salvation Army experienced a $2 million shortfall in reaching its $10.8 million Christmas goal. With just two days left in the year, the organization still hopes that year end gifts could close that gap. Money raised in November and December accounts for one-third of the organization's annual budget.

Across the board, an upswing in improved giving was noted earlier this year. MPR News reported in October that charitable donations by individuals, corporate charities and foundations in 2011 hit $5.5 billion, a 3 percent jump from 2010 donations. Numbers released by the Minnesota Council on Foundation at the time noted that giving by foundations and corporations increased by 15 percent from 2010 to 2011.

Nonprofits are also benefiting with a significant jump in the amount of money spent in charitable gambling. A story earlier this month in the Star Tribune reported that gross receipts increased 8.6 percent statewide this fiscal year and are expected to top $1.1 billion. That’s the heftiest percentage increase in more than 20 years, according to the Minnesota Gambling Control Board.

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