The Crowd: Nonprofits help keep O.C. employed

December 03, 2010|By B.W. Cook
  • Barbara Martin and Jan Landstrom attend "Novemberfest" in support of Hutchins Consort.
Barbara Martin and Jan Landstrom attend "Novemberfest"… (Daily Pilot )

Were you aware that the nonprofit arts sector is one of the top 25 largest non-governmental employers in Orange County?

In fact, the nonprofit arts sector ranks as the 23rd employer in the community, according to the 2010 Economic Impact of the Nonprofit Arts Report presented recently by James L. Doti, president of Chapman University.

The Center Club, Costa Mesa, hosted a morning presentation of the Economic Report by Doti to a full boardroom of executives representing not only the nonprofit sector but also other important business interests in the county, including banking, retail, tourism, finance and manufacturing.

Prepared by the A. Gary Anderson Center for Economic Research at Chapman University's Argyros School of Business under the direction of Esmael Adibi, working in conjunction with Betty R. Moss, founding executive director, recently retired from the Orange County Business Committee for the Arts Inc.

The tone of Doti's address was upbeat, yet realistic, acknowledging the current difficult times. Doti, a noted economist, attributed his optimistic view to both the diversity and vibrancy of the Orange County region overall and the percentage of the population committed to supporting the arts through a variety of avenues.


Doti told the crowd that despite recessionary times Orange County remains one of the most philanthropic regions in the nation. And even though there has been a decline in revenue in some sectors of the nonprofit arts community, attendance is in fact rising, and revenues remain mostly positive even in the face of lower ticket prices to arts events and a more challenging climate for securing development funds from the philanthropic community at large.

Nonprofits arts organizations in 2009 employed a total of 3,624 paid positions. In addition, volunteers contributed almost 786,000 hours roughly equivalent to 380 full time paid jobs. Some 560 Orange County citizens served either as directors or trustees of nonprofit arts organizations. And, of the 2.4 million total tallied admissions to arts related events, 27% or 521,500 were free admissions, mostly to young children and students.

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