Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce and Center for Nonprofit Management Release Nonprofit Economic Impact Study

NASHVILLE, TN, May 26, 2021 — The Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce and the Center for Nonprofit Management (CNM) released the findings of the Nonprofit Economic Impact Study examining the impact of the nonprofit industry within the Nashville Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA).

During an event featuring remarks from Mayor John Cooper, a panel of cross-sector leaders and moderator David Plazas of The Tennessean contextualized the critical role of nonprofits in our region. The Nashville MSA, which includes 13 counties in Middle Tennessee, is home to a total of 1,110 nonprofits, specifically 501c3 organizations. Those nonprofits collectively contribute $14.4 billion to the region's real GDP. Over 70,000 people in the region are employed by nonprofits, which equates to $4 billion in wages. The total employment-based economic impact of nonprofits is $24.6 billion.

“CNM commissioned this report from The Research Center at the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce to quantify the tremendous impact that nonprofits have on our region,” shared CNM President & CEO Tari Hughes. “Our local nonprofits are on the front lines combating the issues facing our community every day, and the pandemic has made those services even more essential. It was critical for us to capture an updated snapshot of the economic contributions that nonprofits make to continue to serve Middle Tennesseans in the future.”

This report not only captures the significant footprint of nonprofits in the Nashville MSA, but it also illustrates the value of volunteer service throughout the community. According to the study, 346,900 volunteers served 42.5 million volunteer hours in 2015, the most recent year for which this data is available. This is equivalent to 20,432 full time employees, representing $1.1 billion in wages. Nonprofit volunteers not only contribute their time and skills, but they also make up a significant portion of the nonprofit donor base. 50.4% of residents in the Nashville region make charitable contributions of $25 or more, and among those who volunteer with nonprofits, 82.3% also donate. Therefore, growing a volunteer base increases not only the work a nonprofit is able to undertake but also grows a nonprofit’s donor base.

“Nonprofits have long played a critical role in the Nashville region economy. These organizations not only improve the well-being of our community, but they also create jobs and contribute to the economy in significant ways,” said Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Ralph Schulz. “While nonprofits account for a small percentage of private sector firms, their impact on employment, wages and overall GDP should cause us all to take notice and recognize that a thriving community benefits from the cultivation and support of this sector.”

View more information about the Nonprofit Economic Impact Study findings and interactive data here.


About Center for Nonprofit Management

The Center for Nonprofit Management (CNM) is a membership service organization that serves the Middle Tennessee nonprofit community and its partners. CNM builds nonprofit capacity through consulting services, professional development, collective impact programming, networking opportunities, special events, member resources and more. CNM’s mission is to amplify the impact of nonprofits and their partners in order to create a connected community equipped to realize our greatest opportunities. For more information, visit

About Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce and Partnership 2020

The Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce is Middle Tennessee’s largest business federation, representing more than 2,000 member companies. Belong, engage, lead, prosper embodies the Chamber's focus on creating economic prosperity by facilitating community leadership. Established in 1990 as an economic development and community enhancement initiative of the Chamber, Partnership 2020 is a regional cooperative dedicated to making Middle Tennessee among the nation’s best places to live, work and do business. Partnership 2020 is supported by a diverse group of public and private companies as well as governmental agencies from the organization’s 10-county service area. The work of the Chamber is supported by its members, Partnership 2020 investors and sponsors; the Chamber’s Pivotal Partners (a partnership at the highest level for all Chamber programs and events) are Bass, Berry & Sims, BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee, Community Health Systems, Gresham Smith and Regions. For more information, visit

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