February 20, 2009

Economic crisis or not, there are youth centers, health care clinics, museums, domestic violence shelters and food banks ready to be built, and Kentucky's nonprofits are ready to dig in. According to a survey conducted by the Johns Hopkins University Nonprofit Listening Post Project, nonprofits across Kentucky are standing by with infrastructure projects worth an estimated $1.6 billion - just part of the estimated $166 billion in potential nonprofit projects across the country.  These estimates exclude nonprofit hospitals and higher education institutions, which were not included in the survey. 

These "shovel-ready" projects can help Kentucky's communities in two ways: by creating short-term jobs and by building long-term facilities that will serve the state's communities for decades. But to move these projects from the "shovel-ready" stage - meaning a project "has completed all necessary design work, is ready to be put out to bid and could be underway within 90 days" - nonprofits need access to stimulus dollars from state and local governments.   

"These findings reinforce that nonprofits represent a strong and vital force in Kentucky's economy," said Danielle Clore, director of the Kentucky Nonprofit Leadership Initiative at the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture. "Many nonprofits across our Commonwealth are ready to go with infrastructure projects and with access to funding, these projects will play an important role in creating jobs and strengthening our communities."   

"The eye-popping results of this independent survey should catch the attention of business leaders looking for quality investments and government officials interested in creating needed jobs," said Tim Delaney, president and CEO of the National Council of Nonprofits, of which the Kentucky Nonprofit Leadership Initiative is a member. "Investment in these community-serving facilities that were identified before the economic crash as needed (which is why they are shovel-ready now) would give our nation the opportunity not only to stimulate employment but also to improve the health, safety and quality of life in local communities across America."

 In the next few days, the initiative plans to release further analysis and specific information for nonprofits on leveraging the funding of the economic stimulus package.

The UK Nonprofit Leadership Initiative is an outreach program of the UK College of Agriculture. It serves and strengthens Kentucky's nonprofit sector through educational opportunities, consulting services and resources for organizations and their leaders.

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