All Boats Rise: The Transformative Power of Nonprofits in Building Stronger Communities

In our work, we are privileged to partner with nonprofit boards, staff, funders, and volunteers across the country. Often our work focuses on helping our partners determine the best next steps to take to improve outcomes, deepen impact, and increase services. While this work is critical, in our quest for improvement, it can be easy to lose sight of the bigger picture—the transformational impact nonprofits have across our communities every day.

We recently celebrated National Nonprofits Day and I think it provides a good opportunity to remind one another of the critical importance of the nonprofit sector. Nonprofits serve as catalysts for change, encouraging individuals to rise above challenges, engage in their communities, and champion causes that better our neighborhoods and our world. While their missions vary, nonprofits share a common thread of empowerment, inclusion, and positive transformation.

As I reflected on some of the many ways nonprofits impact our lives, I came up with the list below. What else would you add?

1. Improved Quality of Life—often highlighted in neighbors in need, but in truth for everyone.

2. Social Cohesion and Volunteerism—bringing people together who share common goals and values, creating a stronger and more connected community. 

3. Economic Development—nonprofits account for 10% of all US jobs and between 5-10% of the economy (Georgi Todorov:  

4. Enhanced Education—for the youngest among us and the young at heart.

5. Health and Well-being—providing critical physical and mental healthcare often for those who have nowhere else to turn.

6. Equity—by reducing barriers to access.

7. Crisis Response—whether natural disasters or unimaginable human actions, nonprofits regularly step in first to help, rallying the community with them. 

8. Cultural Enrichment—beautifying our communities and bringing us together through visual and performing arts.

9. Environmental Sustainability—helping us preserve our natural resources, wildlife, ecosystems, and habitats. 

10. Data-Driven Decision Making—collecting and sharing valuable data about community needs and outcomes to inform policy decisions and resource allocations.  

11. Resilience—a strong network of nonprofits makes a community more resilient in the face of adversity.

12. Innovation—bringing new ideas and approaches to solve complex problems

I am certain the list goes on. Thank you, nonprofit sector, for making our lives better through your tireless efforts.

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