Detroit's Largest Charities

Aug 11, 2012

I wondered this morning what Detroit’s largest nonprofits are. Funding isn’t necessarily an indicator of the impact and reach of an organization, but in the absence of other standard data, it might good starting point for understanding the organizational landscape. 

GuideStar lists 1,141 organizations in Detroit with an annual budget of over $100,000. Of those, most (46%) fell in the $100 - $500k range.

There are some obvious leaders: hospitals, nursing homes, pension funds, universities, and foundations. I’m not including those huge institutions in this list because I’m more interested in local service organizations nonprofits. The list below also leaves out large organizations that do significant work in the city but aren’t headquartered here. That’s a deficiency I’ll address another time. 

I’ve taken a look at the total revenue (field 12) on the most current Form 990 available for the largest organizations. When I say that an organization had “a total revenue of ($) in 2010”, I am referring to the IRS form 990 dated 2010. The actual date ranges for filing vary by organization; many have significant overlap with the previous or next year. 

The list:

  1. Lutheran Social Services of Michigan, with total revenues of $88,663,954 in 2010. The bulk of their work centers around operating homes for the elderly and disabled across the state. Much of their revenue comes from resident fees. They operate in several other sectors, including refugee services, which qualified them for this list. 
  2. Gleaners Community Food Bank of Michigan, the food bank with locations around Southeast Michigan, had total revenues of $66,270,358 in 2010, including the value of donated food.
  3. United Way for Southeastern Michigan, with total revenues of $64,486,113 in 2010. 
  4. The Michigan Basic Property Insurance Association, an organization that provides basic property insurance at a standard rate regardless of the property location, had  total revenues of $39,253,084 in 2010. Michigan Basic operates a statewide insurance pool. I’ll try to give a thorough explanation after I understand their work better.
  5. Wolverine Human Services, which supports adolescents facing serious life programs, had annual revenues of $35,555,916 in 2009. That’s down about 13% ($-5,496,346) from 2008, a change that merits more investigation. 
  6. The YMCA of Metro Detroit, which focuses on healthy living and community development, had $32,614,042 in total revenues in 2010. 
  7. Focus: HOPE (“FOCUS HOPE” on their 990), had a 2009 revenue of $28,008,770 (or  total 2011 revenues of $36,253,000, as listed by their Annual Report). There probably is an interesting story in that significant increase.
  8. The Detroit Area Agency on Aging, which operates Meals on Wheels and operates or supports many other local programs, had revenues of $20,734,292 in 2010. 
  9. Neighborhood Service Organization, with revenues of $24,307,088 in 2010, provides supportive housing, addiction treatment, youth and elderly services, among many general social service programs.
  10. Black Family Development, Inc. supports youth and family development. Their 2010 revenues were $22,167,562.

Several other large organizations were close in the rankings:

  • Detroit Symphony Hall
  • World Medical Relief, Inc.
  • New Urban Learning
  • Legal Aid and Defender Association Inc.