The Importance of the Nonprofit Sector in

The Importance of the Nonprofit Sector in American Culture and SocietyAt first, when I decided to return to college I wanted to Pursue Public Management.

I was required to take so many electives to graduate. I did not know that taking one class with Professor Bowen would change my whole outlook on what I wanted to do with my education and hopefully when finished my career. I began taking his class last fall, it was Management of Urban and Nonprofit Organizations. I knew there were organizations that helped people in need. What I did not know was to the extent they helped and that there were so many.Nonprofits have helped develop our American culture and society by touching millions of lives every day. Nonprofit organizations include everything from neighborhood associations that meet a couple of times a year and have no assets, to health clinics and animal shelters ran by only donations. They include local churches with soup kitchens and charities that serve people in need.

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Nonprofits can be found in every area in the state. They range in size, service type and location, but all are vital to the daily activity in their community. I honestly didn’t realize that arts, higher education, hospitals, and human services were nonprofit organizations. I mean it makes sense, right.Defining a nonprofit organization, they are 501 (c) (3) tax exempt by the IRS. They are tax exempt because they are entities that are organized and operated exclusively for religious, charitable, scientific, literary, or educational purposes. The 501(c) (3) means tax exempt; they do not pay income tax on money received. Typically donations made to nonprofits are tax deductible to the individuals or businesses that make them.

Nonprofits must make financial and operating information public. The reason for this is so the donors can see where their donations and contributions are being used. A resource for donors to utilize is Guide Star USA, Inc.

Guide Star is a database that provides information on nonprofit organizations. There database serves to verify that a recipient organization is established and that donated funds go where the donor intended. Nonprofits bring definition and give shape to our dreams and promote change in the communities. Nonprofit organizations are essential to the sustainability of our culture, and societal well-being. They are created to impact the lives of those that need them, and bring a public benefit to the communities they are rooted in. They are used to shape lives, minds, and cultures. They bring awareness and provide a need where necessary.

From schools where lives begin and transform into greatness, to after-school programs, and fundraisers that raise money for school functions and extracurricular activities. Nonprofit organizations play a huge role in the social and economic well-being of American culture. They provide resources to meet community needs where government services cannot. Some examples are: Arts, culture, humanities, Education, Environment and animals, Health, hospitals, Human services, International, foreign affairs, Public societal benefit, and Religion-related.One of my classmates, mentioned that nonprofits fill a need in society by pulling their resources together and when they do this they can supplement and provide resources that the government cannot. Government agencies have scaled back on charitable giving and that is where and when the nonprofit comes into play. Nonprofits fill the gap for services that governments do not offer making them indispensable.

Nonprofits serve a very important role in our current society, nationally and locally by providing services when the other sectors fail to provide them. They improve the quality of life by meeting the needs of society. They represent and advocate for the people especially in particular areas where public policy and reform is needed. An example of this is from one of the videos we watched on YouTube of the Detroit Water Brigade. According to Detroit Water Brigade Mission Statement, they are “a volunteer-led alliance of compassionate citizens of Detroit and their international allies working to bring emergency relief to families facing water shut offs while advocating for an income-based Water Affordability Plan in Detroit.” The Brigade advocated for the creation of a water affordability plan. This is the effect of local government issues and the bad dealings with their budgets and cost cuttings. The Brigade’s purpose was to improve the quality of life; volunteers went door to door delivering bottled water.

While distributing water to the people in need they also spread awareness of where they can get free water if they needed it as well as legal assistance. The Detroit Water Brigade is a great example of the shortcomings of the government and where a nonprofit grassroots organization came in and filled the gap for the people of Detroit. This nonprofit played their civic role by building the community and fostering engagement while advocating for public policy reform.


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