Category Archives: Nonprofits

General Nonprofits

High Desert Community Foundation

Published by:

By Lisa Lawrence

It is a privilege to join my colleagues and past Bradco High Desert Report article submitters Vici Nagel and Debbie A. Cannon, in discussing the current status and future outlook for nonprofit organizations in the High Desert region and the important connections with the business community.

So what are we facing? The National Council of Nonprofits says, “The top three trends for charitable nonprofits will continue to be: limited resourc­es, increased demands on nonprofits, stemming from increased needs in communities; and the growing aware­ness that every nonprofit and board member needs to be an active, vocal advocate for his/her nonprofit’s mis­sion.”

The national trend is magnified in our High Desert area. The issue of an un­derfunded Inland Empire region has been widely discussed over the past few years, particularly as it relates to foundation dollars coming into our area. The increased needs in our com­munity, likewise, have been identified through formal processes and reported by statistics. More profoundly, we all see, hear, and read real-life stories of the people affected. These stories are what fuel those of us in the nonprofit community and our supporters.

The response to these trends has been for Inland Empire nonprofit to contin­ue to focus on building stronger networks and collaborations. While for-profit businesses with like products and services do not necessarily work in cooperation with their “competi­tors,” that strategy is highly utilized and effective among nonprofit orga­nizations. A recent Daily Press ar­ticle titled “The Business of Poverty” outlined a food distribution program headed by Desert Manna in Barstow. The article described the worsening economic plight of the region, using data provided by the county, school district, nonprofit organizations, and The Bradco Companies. It also gave a beautiful illustration of nonprofit or­ganizations working together and le­veraging resources for greater impact. The logistics alone are impressive.

Another example of nonprofits work­ing together is Academy for Grass­roots Organizations (AcademyGO) and High Desert Community Foun­dation. Mrs. Nagel and I are the Ex­ecutive Directors, respectively, and we are continually collaborating to strengthen and improve our communi­ty. AcademyGO does an outstanding job in capacity building of nonprofits through training, regular networking events, and connections to resources. At the foundation, we have over 60 projects providing services or support for: veterans, low income families, se­niors, children, health, animals, edu­cation, homeless, civic efforts, arts, music, and public safety. Our foun­dation has directly benefitted from the services of AcademyGO, and many of our projects have grown in their abil­ity to obtain resources, including sev­eral first time grants.

The High Desert Community Foun­dation also manages permanent and temporary funds for in­dividuals, families, and businesses to impact our community both now and into the future. We are an excellent alterna­tive to establishing your own foundation and can assist you in leaving a legacy by supporting causes you care about. We also have a thriving scholarship program and over $250,000 will be given to graduating high school seniors this year. We set up scholarships in coordination with the donor, including memorial scholar­ships to honor a loved one’s legacy.

The nonprofit community recognizes the continuing contributions of our businesses. Many of our High Desert businesses are already actively en­gaged with and supportive of nonprofit organizations and activities. Academy for Grassroots Organizations is em­barking on a campaign to strengthen that vital connection and effectively build the capacity to serve and respond to the increased needs in our commu­nities. The question of “Why are non­profits good for business?” will also be asked and answered. Watch for more information in the coming months or contact Debbie A. Cannon through

On behalf of the nonprofit community, thank you to our businesses! You are an invaluable partner in improving our High Desert region.

Lisa Lawrence is the Executive Di­rector of the High Desert Community Foundation. For more information, visit or call her at (760) 242-8877.

General Nonprofits

Are Nonprofits and Businesses Similar?

Published by:

By Debbie A. Cannon
Academy for Grassroots Organizations

At a recent Chamber of Commerce net­working event, I was introducing myself and my role at Academy for Grassroots Organizations when asked “How Are Nonprofits Like Small Businesses?”

Prior to joining the nonprofit sector, I was a small business owner, so I found this a very intriguing question. The net­working event did not provide adequate time to address this thought-provoking question, so I would like to attempt to in this article.

Let me begin by taking a moment to de­fine a nonprofit. The Free Online Dic­tionary defines a nonprofit as: “A cor­poration or an association that conducts business for the benefit of the general public without shareholders and with­out a profit motive. Nonprofit organi­zations include churches, soup kitchens, charities, political associations, busi­ness leagues, fraternities, sororities, sports leagues, colleges and universi­ties, hospitals, museums, television sta­tions, symphonies, and public interest law firms.”

Similar to for-profit corporations, non­profit corporations must file a statement of corporate purpose with the Secretary of State and pay a fee, create articles of incorporation, conduct regular meetings, and fulfill other obligations to achieve and maintain corporate status according to state law.

Although both entities are corporations there indeed are a few key differences. A major point of distinction is in the ba­sic question “Why does each exist?”

For-profit companies are generally es­tablished to generate income for entre­preneurs, employees and shareholders. They offer market-driven products and services in exchange for sales revenue. Profits are distributed to the appropriate shareholders.

Nonprofit organizations are generally established to serve the general pub­lic without a profit motive and without shareholders.

One significant difference between non­profit and for-profit organizations is how they are funded. While for-profit companies sell products and services in the community to generate income for distribution to entrepreneurs, sharehold­ers, the business and their employees, nonprofits generate their income to sup­port humanitarian causes.

Nonprofits generate their income from direct appeals to individuals, corpora­tions and donors and entities that sup­port the underlying cause.

Nonprofit organizations “re-invest” all of their income into programs and services aimed at meeting under-met community needs such as food, water, shelter, education, workforce develop­ment, health, arts and culture that are pillars of a healthy community. Unlike for-profit businesses nonprofits cannot distribute corpo­rate income to stakeholders. The funds acquired by nonprofit corpo­rations must stay within the corpo­rate accounts to pay for reasonable salaries, expenses, and the activities of the corporation/nonprofit.

An inaccurate be­lief sometimes held about non­profits is that they rely solely on charity or dona­tions for income. In fact, the Cal­Nonprofits recent Causes Count sur­vey of 72,478 Cal­ifornia nonprofits reveals that, in fact, nonprofits in the Inland Empire generate 72.75% of their income from program revenues. The diagram below shows the overall rev­enue mix of the nonprofit sector. For the complete report visit

Inland Empire Nonprofits –Breakdown of Revenue Sources

Breakdown of Contributions

Breakdown of Contributions

Similar to for-profits, nonprofits actively look for ways to diversify their funding and secure long term financial sustainability One such opportunity presented it­self in the spring of 2014. In 2014 The Community Foundation Serving the Counties of Riverside and San Bernar­dino, in coordination with the County of San Bernardino, launched a 24-hour fundraising web-a-thon benefitting non­profit organizations called Give BIG San Bernardino. The goal was set to engage 150 countywide nonprofits and raise $300,000 online in 24 hours. Training to increase their skills in the use of so­cial media, marketing, and donor culti­vation to prepare for the big day were provided.

The business community provided sup­port through $41,000 in sponsorships. On May 8, 2014, by working together, businesses and 251 county nonprof­its successfully raised $548,214 in 24 hours. Victor Valley and Barstow non­profits raised 5.76% of the total dollars. For information about the participating nonprofits and 2014 Give BIG San Ber­nardino statistics visit http://givebigsb­

The success of Give BIG is one example that highlights how businesses and non­profits working together can accomplish new and innovative solutions to the pur­suit of our shared vision of healthy and vibrant communities.

I am excited and inspired to explore ways to develop more opportunities like Give BIG for nonprofits and for-profits businesses to find innovative ways to work together for the good of our com­munity. I invite you to attend one of our monthly networking meetings the 1st Thursday of each month to learn more about nonprofits. Email me at for details.

Stronger nonprofits and stronger busi­nesses are integral to long term success of our communities.

Nonprofits and their employees pur­chase goods and services that boost local economies. This helps local businesses grow, hire additional employees, and prosper. Plus, nonprofits themselves contribute to sales tax revenues as they expend dollars.

Nonprofits, in addition, purchase nu­merous goods and services, including things such as real estate, rental prop­erty, utilities, insurance, office supplies and equipment, financial services and printing, to name a few.

I am confident that working together we can accomplish great things. No doubt there are subtle similarities and differ­ences in both sectors, yet, in the end, there are more similarities than differ­ences.

In response to the original question “How Are Nonprofits and Businesses Similar?” I offer the following quote from the San Bernardino Countywide Vision description of Our Job: “Our job is to create a county in which those who reside and invest can prosper and achieve well-being.”

There is much work to be done to ac­complish Our Job. Let us begin togeth­er!

Debbie A. Cannon is a VP/COO of Academy for Grassroots Organizations, a nonprofit management support or­ganization dedicated to improving the quality of life in our region by support­ing and strengthening the social service sector. Further information may be found at

General Nonprofits

Academy for Grassroots Organizations

Published by:

By Vici Nagel
President & CEO
Academy for Grassroots Organizations

The nonprofit sector plays an important role in San Bernardino County’s and the High Desert’s communities and economy. Not only do nonprofit organizations provide services that improve the well-being of local residents, they also support the local economy by offering job opportunities and purchasing goods and services from local businesses.

A new report from the San Bernardino County Capacity Building Consortium (Consortium), of which I am a member, outlines how nonprofits are a vital component of the local economy and represent a great deal of untapped potential. According to the Consortium’s study, in 2010 nonprofits secured $2.5 billion in out-of-county revenue … and spent it locally to create jobs and purchase goods and services. These dollars also supported infrastructure and services provided by local government through $219 million paid in state and local taxes.

Unlike other businesses which recirculate existing local dollars, the nonprofit sector is a magnet attracting new dollars into the local economy by securing foundation, state, and federal funding. And, most of those dollars stay in the local economy through the nonprofits’ purchasing of goods and services and their employees’ spending on housing, food, necessities, and entertainment.

Another important fact that the Consortium’s report identifies is that the nonprofit sector is a major generator of jobs in San Bernardino County. The employer of 6% of the county’s workforce, the nonprofit sector employed 48,792 people in 2010. The significance of this number is demonstrated in its comparison to the 47,200 people employed by the “Transportation, Warehousing, and Utilities” sector for the same period; a sector many understand to be important to our region’s economy. Add to those 48,792 direct jobs employed in the nonprofit sector, an additional 48,090 jobs that the sector indirectly supported through its and its employees’ spending, and you can see how vital nonprofits are to our county’s workforce and economy.

But the good news doesn’t stop there. While nonprofits generate economic impact, as do other local businesses, there is an important distinction: nonprofits provide a “triple benefit” by (1) bringing new dollars into the economy, (2) improving local residents’ quality of life through the direct services they provide in our communities – such as health services and recreational activities, and (3) they generate a cost saving to society – such as those that accrue when residents use community-based health care rather than expensive emergency rooms or when graduates of job training programs leave public assistance or find a better job.

Nonprofits also represent vast untapped potential for our economy! Many people have heard about the paltry $3 per capita San Bernardino County nonprofits receive from foundations as compared to a statewide average of $119. While this is indeed a problem, it is also a huge opportunity. Nonprofits receive income from a variety of sources in addition to foundation funding, much of which comes from outside the region. With greater investment in helping local nonprofits get stronger, the return on that investment could result in billions of additional dollars infused in to our struggling economy.

For example, in 2010 San Bernardino County received just $1,018 per capita in federal grants compared to a national average of $2,213. That is a $1,195 percapita disparity, or in other words, our county received approximately $2.4 billion less than the average allotment of federal grants … in just one year. What would you invest to bring an additional $2.4 billion to our county every year?

At Academy for Grassroots Organizations we believe that investing in our nonprofit sector is crucial to the region’s quality of life and each year we invest a great deal in the sector; supporting and strengthening it is our mission. By providing groups with meaningful opportunities to connect, exchange ideas and share resources; by advocating for and supporting their efforts; and by helping them learn how to professionalize management and fundraising, we endeavor to create a sector which contributes to a good way of life for local residents. Each year we work with hundreds of organizations, volunteers, and nonprofit professionals to ensure that local:

  • Families have the supportive services they need to be healthy, safe, and successful
  • Children are educated and nurtured
  • Resources, including government resources, are used efficiently and effectively where they are needed most
  • Businesses have a desirable, safe, healthy community in which to prosper

But we can’t do it alone! Collaboration is a core value of our organization and in this work we partner with: (1) the High Desert Community Foundation that provides a financial-oversight vehicle for local projects and start-up groups, (2) the Victor Valley Community Services Counsel that provides and supports services for seniors, (3) local cities and hospitals working together as Healthy High Desert to improve the built environment and poor healthoutcomes, (4) United Way, consultants, and other nonprofit capacity-building organizations through the Consortium, (5) our Board of Directors and Advisory Council of business and nonprofit professionals who oversee and evaluate our efforts, (6) The Community Foundation serving the Counties of Riverside and San Bernardino that provides funding to local organizations and donor development services, and (7) numerous businesses, foundations, and local governments that provide resources and expertise to accomplish our goals.

So my challenge to you, dear reader, is … join us also!

Get involved in a local nonprofit. Volunteer local. Give local. And help us not only improve our communities, but also improve the local economy at the same time.

If you would like to check us out at one of our High Desert Resource Network meetings, please come as my guest. For our schedule of meetings and trainings and to register please visit If you would like a copy of the San Bernardino County Nonprofits Economic Impact Report you can send your request to me at

I hope to see you soon!

General Nonprofits

Academy for Grassroots Organizations

Published by:

By Vici Nagel
President & CEO
Academy for Grassroots Organizations

As I have stated in previous columns in this publications, the nonprofit sector presents our region with huge opportunities for economic growth … and it is time for serious investment to help this sector embrace its role as a component of San Bernardino County’s economic engine.

First, let’s take a look at some facts and figures.

  • There are currently 1,563,596 tax-exempt (nonprofit) organizations in the United States: 5,600 in San Bernardino County.
  • In 2010, nonprofits accounted for 9.2% of all wages and salaries paid in the United States.
  • Nonprofits’ share of Gross Domestic Product was 5.5% in 2010.
  • In 2010, public charities reported over $1.51 trillion in total revenues and $1.45 trillion in total expenses.
  • Public charities reported $2.71 trillion in total assets in 2010.

Why are these figures important?

These figures demonstrate that the nonprofit sector is not just a collection of “do gooders,” but rather is a significant industry contributing to our nation’s economy. And similar to any industry in these challenging economic times, we need to think about how we can increase its strength to create greater economic activity and jobs.

In previous columns I have talked about our local nonprofit sector not receiving its share of foundation funding, with San Bernardino County communities receiving only $3 per capita in foundation funding compared to a state average of $119 per capita.

What is even more startling is the disparity in the amount of government funding our county receives. In 2010, the last year data is available, San Bernardino County received just $1,018 per capita in federal grants compared to a national average of $2,213. That is a $1,196 per capita disparity, or in other words, our county received $2.4 billion less than the average allotment of federal grants … in just one year.

What would you invest to bring an additional $2.4 billion to our county every year?

A great deal, I hope!

Our organization, Academy for Grassroots Organizations (formerly High Desert Resource Network) is dedicated to improving our quality of life by supporting and strengthening this woefully under-resourced sector/industry. As we work to strengthen individual organizations and the sector as a whole, we hope to help organizations become effective, responsive, innovative and sustainable. We do this through a variety of collaboration building, resource development, and training services provided to nonprofits throughout San Bernardino County.

But moving the local nonprofit sector from its dire lack of capacity and resources to one that is a vibrant and dynamic contributor to our quality of life, as you can imagine, is a huge undertaking. No one entity can accomplish it alone. Fortunately, Academy for Grassroots Organizations (AGO) is part of a wider network of nonprofit management support organizations, government entities, and businesses all working together to change the paradigm.

During the next several months AGO will be working with this network to create a strategic plan for building the county’s nonprofit capacity. We will be looking at the sector’s strengths and gaps in services and will develop a list of strategies aimed at significant increases in both nonprofit funding and performance. I look forward to reporting to you about those strategies in the next Bradco High Desert Report. Then, I hope you will join us by investing in this critical work to grow our nonprofit sector and grow our economy.

Finally, I am excited to report that our organization is also poised for growth. During the past year and a half our Board of Directors has stepped up to the plate to take an even greater leadership role in the region’s social service sector. Doing the groundwork to lay a foundation for growth, the Board has expanded our service area to include all of San Bernardino County, developed a formal relationship with The Community Foundation Serving the Counties of Riverside and San Bernardino, partnered with organizations throughout the county to provide training in multiple locations, and changed our corporate name from High Desert Resource Network to Academy for Grassroots Organizations.

We believe that this new corporate name will help people better understand our mission and what our organization does. Academy relates to our strong focus on learning and Grassroots Organizations relates to our focus on helping organizations that are grounded in and concerned about local communities.

We also want readers to know that High Desert Resource Network will live on as a program of Academy for Grassroots Organizations. Through the Network we will continue hosting informative monthly meetings and bringing attention to this important sub-region of the county. Like our other signature program, The Fundraising Academy for Grassroots Organizations, the Network provides training and networking opportunities nonprofit professionals and volunteers need to advance their organizations.

For our schedule of meetings and trainings please visit

I hope to see you soon!

Vici Nagel is a 30+ year nonprofit professional and President/CEO of Academy for Grassroots Organizations, a nonprofit management support organization dedicated to improving the quality of life in our region by supporting and strengthening the social service sector. Further information may be found at .

Economy General Nonprofits

High Desert Resource Network

Published by:

By Vici Nagel, President/CEO
High Desert Resource Network

As we in San Bernardino County focus on the economy and how to turn it around locally, I urge us all to think about how nonprofit organizations can and do play a significant role in local economic activity … and what we can do to strengthen that role. “Nonprofits” present our county with huge opportunities for economic growth and it is time for serious investment in this sector!

First, a word about the term, “nonprofit.” I cannot think of any other industry who’s title tells you what it is not, rather than what it is! In my opinion, the term “nonprofit” should be replaced because it causes all sorts of misconceptions about the sector. It is a term that comes from the Internal Revenue Service, which basically means that these types of businesses, and they are businesses, may not distribute their excess revenues over expenses, their “profits,” to owners. Instead, nonprofits must reinvest all of their “profits” back in to their nonprofit purposes; such as caring for the sick, sheltering the homeless, and preparing our next generation of leaders.

It has long been understood that nonprofit organizations provide value to communities as they help improve the quality of life and mitigate a host of ills. What is often overlooked, however, is the economic impact nonprofit programs and services have. Here are a few examples:

• Every dollar invested in quality early care and education for children saves taxpayers up to $13.00 in future costs.

• An investment of $10 per person per year in proven community-based programs to increase physical activity, improve nutrition, and prevent smoking and other tobacco use could save California more than $1.7 billion in annual health care costs within 5 years.

• Nationally, the nonprofit arts and culture industry generates $166.2 billion in economic activity every year.

In our county, nonprofit organizations contribute a great deal of economic activity. Nonprofits purchase numerous goods and services, mostly in the local economy, including things such as real estate, rental property, utilities, insurance, office supplies and equipment, financial services and printing to name a few. They hire employees who purchase houses and cars and pay local property and income taxes. Following are a few stats about our county’s nonprofit sector:

• There are more than 5,000 nonprofit organizations in San Bernardino County.

• They employ 5% of the workforce.

• They spend more than $3 billion annually.

• They control roughly $4 billion in assets.

In addition to the current benefits nonprofit organizations already provide our community, they are also a greatly untapped resource for generating additional economic activity in our recession-worn region. For example, the disparity in foundation funding to local nonprofits is staggering: California nonprofit organizations annually secure an average of $119 per capita in private foundation grants, while San Bernardino County nonprofits average just $3 per capita.

Let me repeat that another way … our communities receive $116 per person less than the state average in foundation funding. With more than 2 million county residents, that amounts to $230+ million a year in untapped resources for local food banks, domestic violence shelters, children’s charities and more.

This certainly begs the question, “Why?” Why, with vastly higher levels of need does our county receive vastly less funding to address those needs?

My colleagues in the region and I believe the answer is multifaceted. First, there are very few foundations located in San Bernardino County, so we must attract outside investment. Second, the huge size of our region makes collaborations that foundations want to fund, more difficult. Third, the majority of local nonprofits are small and under-developed, and less sophisticated in their efforts to attract funds.

That’s the bad news, but the good news can be summed up in the word “opportunity!”

With our county recently bringing together all of its 24 cities and towns to craft a shared vision, the opportunity for collaboration has never been greater. This collaborative effort to create a better future can be the cornerstone we need for advancing the nonprofit sector and attracting major support from foundations outside our region.

Another opportunity that exists is the organization I work for, High Desert Resource Network. As we work with county government, the local philanthropic community, and our extensive network of nonprofit partners, our vital social service sector continues to grow and increase services. For example, as the region’s nonprofit management support center, our training programs have been proven to have a 4:1 benefit. In other words, each $1,000 High Desert Resource Network spends on training provided to make nonprofits stronger, helps those organizations generate an additional $4,000 for services for the community.

Finally, the biggest opportunity lies in those funding disparity numbers. What would you invest to generate a $230+ million annual return? And, where would you invest it? I challenge all Bradco High Desert Report readers to seriously consider investing in the strengthening of the region’s nonprofit sector.

For further information about how you can get involved in the exciting opportunities strengthening the region’s nonprofits pose, email me at I can’t wait to work with you to create a prosperous future for our community!

Vici Nagel is a 30-year nonprofit professional and President/CEO of High Desert Resource Network, a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the quality of life in our region by supporting and strengthening the social service sector. Further information may be found at

General Nonprofits

Victor Valley Community Services Council

Published by:

By Midge M. Nicosia
Director of Programs Adminstration

The Victor Valley Community Services Council is the High Desert’s very first non-profit service agency. Established in 1956, the VVCSC began with the purpose of meeting the emerging needs of the community. The VVCSC is committed to “promote and sustain the quality of life for persons and organizations in the High Desert through education, collaboration of services and new program developments.”

In her book Pearl’s Story, the founder Pearl Barstow Pettis recalls the first project of the VVCSC was to number the houses in the Victor Valley so that the mail could be delivered. In a study financed by Southwest Portland Cement, the VVCSC started numbering with homes at the Cajon Pass continuing throughout the valley, which “made life easier for a lot of people” as well as emergency vehicles.

Pearl goes on to recall that the VVCSC Thrift Shop funded the beginning of counseling services from the San Bernardino Family Service Agency in the High Desert, Emergency Welfare, Christmas Baskets, a Senior Citizens Club and the United Fund.

In six years the VVCSC received California’s award for the council most successfully meeting the human needs of the community, the High Desert, at a grass roots level. At the time, this was in competition with much larger cities such as Los Angeles and San Francisco.

It is clear that the VVCSC plays a major roll in the history of the High Desert and is continuing to do so with each new program developed, and yet many are not aware of its presence.

VVCSC is currently operating free programs for High Desert seniors, low to mid income and over 60 years of age. The VVCSC is a vendor of the Department of Aging and Adult service through Title IIIB funds and a current recipient of The Town of Apple Valley Community Development Block Grant dollars.

For seniors who are no longer working, often the only source of income is a small social security benefit. Some seniors have had their personal investments decrease with the economy, and a growing variety of illnesses have increased their payments to the pharmacy.

It may seem like some seniors have the ideal lifestyle, retired with a house paid off and no more kids to send to college. A car and a home that is paid for is not enough to get them by when they can’t drive and their home is in need of repair.

Perfectly capable of caring for themselves, many High Desert seniors simply need a little extra help that will allow them to remain at home. The goal of the VVCSC is to keep High Desert Seniors living independently at home, out of managed care, by providing access to life’s necessities and enabling them to do so.

Funded through grant monies, fundraising efforts and the generosity of charitable partners, programs for seniors include a Minor Home Repair and Modification Program, Transportation Program, Visiting Program, and Telephone Reassurance Program.

Although funding from the Department of Aging and Adult Services has been steady for the last few years, it is not enough to keep the doors open full time. The VVCSC is a part time organization open Monday through Thursday from 9am until 3pm. San Bernardino County non profits are feeling the recession of the economy. As shown by a study commissioned by the James Irvine Foundation in 2009, the per capita state, federal and foundation funding for San Bernardino County community based organizations is $3 versus the statewide average of $119 per capita. This makes it even more important for individuals and private sector to become involved in supporting our local service agencies, which assist with a great variety of needs in their community, many acting unseen and unspoken of.

There are a large number of older residents and mobile homes in the High Desert. Due to the extreme environments, combined with lack of funds, many senior citizens live in dilapidating conditions. Many are unable to afford the necessary repairs and some fall prey to those who would take advantage of their frail state with severe price inflation.

VVCSC’s Minor Home Repair and Modification Program is available to provide solutions to health and welfare issues, which may develop into hazardous situations. Some examples of such issues are grab bar installation, plumbing and electrical fixture repair or installation, minor swamp cooler repairs and maintenance, and broken windows open to the elements. This program does not address aesthetic improvements such as painting.

With its Transportation Program the VVCSC provides seniors, who cannot drive, access to life’s necessities such as doctor appointments, banking, and grocery shopping with a door-to-door individualized appointment. This is a non-assisted transportation program not able to accommodate wheelchairs at this time.

Friendly Visiting and Telephone Reassurance programs provide comfort for those home bound or institutionalized who need that extra personal connection. Visits are done with or without friendly dogs and can be made to groups or individuals for short periods of time.The Telephone Reassurance Program calls individuals at home twice a week to make sure they are not in need of any assistance while providing a comforting voice to a lonely senior.

Operating with only three part time employees, the VVCSC depends on the community volunteer efforts and is always in search of dedicated men and women who would like to participate in its mission. A budget of little more than $100,000 at this time, the council continues to be a center for assistance to the High Desert, as was its founders dream.

Available to all residents through the VVCSC is the First Call For Help 24/7 Information Line, staffed by volunteers and the Alternative Sentencing Program serving the Victorville and Barstow courts as a member of the California League of Alternative Sentencing. The Alternative Sentencing Program is a fee for service program assigning those needing to perform community service to over 200 different non profit agencies in the High Desert and Barstow areas. The council still fiscally sponsors new non profits while they work toward their goal of independence and has been responsible for the incubation of many you may know today, including the High Desert Homeless Shelter, Victorville Senior Citizens Center, and the Desert Communities United Way.

If you are interested in volunteering your time, providing in kind or financial support to an organization that has been a valuable network for many High Desert residents over the last five decades, please contact the office of the Victor Valley Community Services Council at (760) 243-9646. Email

First Call For Help Information Line (760) 240-8255


General Nonprofits

The Profit of Nonprofit

Published by:

By Vici Nagel, President/CEO
High Desert Resource Network

So why an article about nonprofit organizations in a publication designed to examine the economy of our region? Sure they help people, but aren’t nonprofits just small groups of volunteers with little to no money?

The answer to that question is a resounding, “NO!”

For many reasons nonprofit organizations are a vital component of our community’s infrastructure. The services they provide help ensure that our cities, towns and neighborhoods are good places to live, work, and raise families. Nonprofits work to mitigate a whole host of social woes that drive families and businesses out of communities. They work to combat substance abuse, domestic violence, and gangs. They keep families on their feet in times of need by providing food, clothing, and even shelter. Nonprofits care for the sick and elderly, as well as prepare the next generation of leaders.

But more than providing just the social fiber of the community, nonprofits also have a significant economic impact.

In my opinion, the term nonprofit should be replaced because it causes all sorts of misconceptions about the sector. It is a term that comes from the Internal Revenue Service, which basically means that these types of businesses may not distribute their excess revenues over expenses, (their profit) to owners. BUT, it does not mean that they cannot generate a profit. Surprise!

In fact, nonprofit organizations generate a great deal of revenues and economic activities that add to local economies.

Nonprofits by the numbers :

• Over 1.5 million nonprofits are registered in the United States.

• In 2005, the most recent year with complete data, the nonprofit sector overall employed 12.9 million people, or 10 percent of the workforce.

• From 1998 to 2005, nonprofit employment overall grew 16.4 percent, compared to 6.2 percent for overall employment in the U.S.

• Based on employment, the charitable sector is larger than the construction sector and larger than the finance, insurance and real-estate sectors combined, and it has nearly half as many employees as federal, state and local government combined.

• In 2009, nonprofits reported almost $2 trillion in total revenue and $4.2 trillion in assets.

Nonprofits are often overlooked when considering economic impact in communities because they generally do not pay corporate or property taxes. Important economic benefit, however, is generated by the large portion of employment nonprofits represent. At 10% of the workforce, nonprofit employees contribute significantly to federal, state, and local income taxes; property taxes; and sales tax revenues.

In addition, as nonprofits and their employees purchase goods and services they boost local economies. This multiplier effect helps local businesses grow, hire additional employees, and prosper. Plus, nonprofits themselves contribute to sales tax revenues as they expend dollars.

Savvy for-profit business owners understand the value of nonprofits as clients and look for ways to connect with them. Nonprofits purchase numerous goods and services, including things such as real estate, rental property, utilities, insurance, office supplies and equipment, financial services and printing to name a few. One way to connect with this market full of potential is through organizations such as mine, High Desert Resource Network. Often called the “charity chamber of commerce,” our monthly meetings are a great place to network and promote your services. If you would like to check us out, I invite you to attend one of our meetings as my guest. High Desert Resource Network meets the first Thursday of the month. Information about times and location can be found on our website (

Another economic benefit nonprofits provide to local economies lies in their attracting government dollars. In 2005, $351 billion worth of government grants and payments benefited communities through nonprofit organizations.

A misnomer about nonprofits is that they rely on charity, or begging for donations. In fact, today’s nonprofit organizations are professionally run “businesses” that in general generate 50% of their revenues from payments for services. The diagram below shows the overall revenue mix of the nonprofit sector.

Source: Urban Institute, Nat’l Center for Charitable Statistics, Nonprofit Almanac 2008

An added way nonprofits contribute to the economy is by helping businesses improve their bottom lines by making communities nicer places to live and work. Quality of life is enhanced through rich offerings of arts and culture, quality health care, a variety of recreation and leisure options, good schools and child care, a clean environment and humane and effective responses to those in need. Nonprofits nurture and develop a sense of belonging to a community, which is critical for growth and businesses attracting and retaining a dedicated workforce.

Occasionally I still run across folks (although well-meaning and good) that think nonprofits are generally an economic drain on the community. I hope in this article I have dispelled that notion and helped readers understand, and appreciate, the significant impact our nonprofit organizations have in our country and local communities. In the next issue we’ll examine the specifics of our region’s nonprofits. In the meantime, please don’t hesitate to contact me if you have questions about nonprofits and our local social service sector.

Vici Nagel is a 30-year nonprofit professional and President/CEO of High Desert Resource Network, a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting and strengthening the local social service sector. Further information may be found at