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The Sunshine Economy

The Sunshine Economy: Not For Profit But For A Cause

Tom Hudson

Alonzo Mourning likes to tell the story about a deflated basketball on the desk of his Georgetown coach John Thompson.

He calls that deflated basketball from his collegiate years a "powerful statement because many of us as young athletes think that basketball is it." 

Mourning told the story during his enshrinement in the NBA Hall of Fame in August of 2014. It is a story he uses to illustrate his desire to give back. 

Mourning's kidney replacement surgery, subsequent comeback and winning of the 2006 NBA Championship cemented his reputation as a hard worker, tough competitor and compassionate leader. His nonprofit is among many groups in South Florida working on community issues, but he knows he has one advantage many don't -- him.

"It's an amen moment," said Mourning Family Foundation President Bill Diggs.  "A lot of people like celebrity and want to sit and be with number 33." 

Alonzo Mourning and seven to nine pounds of air.

According to Mourning, he's experiencing more potential donors for his foundation from the Northeast, as those companies do more business inSouth Florida.  "Not only my name as a professional athlete but also my credibility in this community will allow me to have their ear and show them how they can have a significant impact on this new community they've moved into."

That community has a ways to go regarding the nonprofit industry, though. According to the National Center for Charitable Statistics,  the Miami metropolitan area ranks in the lower half across most nonprofit groups by revenue among the biggest 100 cities. Here are the gauges (ranked 1 to 100 on per capita revenue for these nonprofit groups, so the lower the number equals more community giving):

"The nonprofit sector is not as robust in the Miami area as it is elsewhere in the country," said Tom Pollak, program director for the Urban League's National Center for Charitable Statistics.  Pollak's data shows revenue by nonprofits focused on international issues is much stronger in South Florida than other areas, which makes sense considering the significant foreign-born population here.

In the past year, $23 billion has been provided to nonprofit groups in South Florida, from Palm Beach to the Florida Keys. While the three major counties are home to roughly the same number of nonprofits, the revenues generated by those agencies are dominated in Miami-Dade County.



The revenue is far from evenly distributed. The $23 billion generated annually by South Florida nonprofits includes two big groups of institutions not normally thought of as charities - universities and not for profit hospitals and health systems. Nonprofit higher education and hospitals account for 45 percent of revenues collected by nonprofits, according to the National Center for Charitable Statistics. Here's how the revenue breaks down across 11 types of nonprofits (does not include religious congregational giving):



Tom Hudson is WLRN's Senior Economics Editor and Special Correspondent.