How Many Non-Profits Are Based in Pasadena? Local Group Says They Know the Correct Answer

Published : Thursday, June 15, 2017 | 3:33 PM

Local residents often say Pasadena has the second most non-profits per capita in the country after Washington, DC. Numbers on how many non-profits are in Pasadena range from 1,000 to 2,500, depending on to whom you are speaking.

Leadership Pasadena decided to ask the experts to find out the real number, based upon solid research methods.

Leadership Pasadena asked CalNonProfits, the voice of the non-profit industry in California, to run their rigorous and renown “Causes Count” report just for Pasadena.

CalNonprofits is a statewide organization that brings nonprofits together to advocate for the communities we serve and is considered the expert in charity demographics and impact analysis for California. ( CalNonProfits Policy Director Nancy Berlin worked with Leadership Pasadena to produce the Pasadena-focused report.
CalNonProfits determined there are 1,021 non-profits in Pasadena.

It is important to understand how CalNonProfits came up with these numbers and the methodology used for this research.

Leadership Pasadena provided CalNonProfits with all the Pasadena zip codes—not Altadena or Sierra Madre or South Pasadena, just Pasadena. They used those zip codes and ran their computer program in the same way they ran it for the state-wide numbers.

For the CalNonProfits state-wide report their team at University of San Diego gathers data from the following sources:

• IRS Forms 990, compiling more than 250 Form 990 data elements.
• The Urban Institute’s National Center for Charitable Statistics (NCCS).
• The Foundation Center Data for the number of foundations, as well as their assets.
• The U.S. Census Bureau Information.
• The California Employment Development Department supplied the nonprofit labor and wage data.

For LP’s Pasadena purposes, CalNonProfits ran two analyses.

First, they determined the total number of any and all organizations that file under IRS Code 501(c). That includes many groups many of us may not think of as non-profit, such as credit unions, Chamber of Commerces, some employee benefit trusts, etc. CalNonProfits determined there are 1,607 of these organizations in Pasadena as of March 2017.

The second analysis focused only on IRS Code Section 501(c)(3) organizations which we usually think of as a charity and CalNonProfits determined there are 1,021 such non-profits in Pasadena.

Using the 2014 Pasadena population of 141,000 that means there is one non-profit for every 138 Pasadena residents.

“While this shows how incredibly concerned Pasadena residents are about community needs and issues, it also shows how hard it can be for some non-profits to compete for Board members, donations and volunteers! One charity for each 138 residents is stunning! ” per Cindy Bengtson, Volunteer Executive Director and Board member of Leadership Pasadena. “We know Pasadena residents volunteer for charities in our neighboring areas like Altadena, South Pas, Arcadia, etc but we wanted focus solely on Pasadena city limits. Maybe next year we will expand the area of study,” Bengtson continued.

Turning to money…. $2,669,313,419 in revenue was received by Pasadena non-profits in 2016 including churches but excluding higher education. This begins to show the economic impact of non-profits to the city.

Questions on this information can be directed to Cindy Bengtson at

The full Causes Count for California report is at Regional statistics are provided there as well as state-wide numbers.

Leadership Pasadena is a hands-on, community leadership program that immerses you in Pasadena’s rich history, government and world renowned organizations and institutions. This is a unique program for those who want to play an active role in Pasadena’s future. The program provides participants with 24 hours of personal leadership training, a 2-day offsite Ropes course experience, 2 hours of one on one executive coaching, 60 hours of Pasadena community education and 40 hours of community service learning. Participants build meaningful connections with the area’s business, government and community decision-makers.






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