Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Rank in Charity Declines Slower Revenue Growth Pulls Pittsburgh to 16th in Nation

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Rank in Charity Declines Slower Revenue Growth Pulls Pittsburgh to 16th in Nation

Article excerpt

Two years after Pittsburgh's charities were ranked as the best performing in the U.S., the city has dropped to 16th on a survey of how nonprofits stacked up in the 30 largest philanthropic markets nationwide.

The new survey by Charity Navigator ranked the largest nonprofits in each city based on a combination of factors including assets, contributions, expenses and accountability to donors.

Houston topped the list, up from second place in 2010, the last time Charity Navigator conducted the study.

Rounding out the top five were Kansas City, St. Louis, Cincinnati and Portland, Ore.

Orlando ranked last.

Charity Navigator is a Glen Rock, N.J., organization that regularly tracks data on 5,500 nonprofits. The latest study included about half of those nonprofits; 44 are based in Pittsburgh.

Last year there was no survey because Charity Navigator was modifying its ratings system to include new categories such as transparency and best practices, said Sandra Miniutti, vice president, marketing and chief financial officer.

Pittsburgh's dramatic decline in the rankings most likely can be traced to growth factors, such as incoming revenues, she said. For instance, revenue growth at Pittsburgh's largest nonprofits was 1.4 percent, compared with a national median growth rate of 2.3 percent.

Administrative expenses for nonprofits here were 9.4 percent of budgets, slightly higher than the national median of 9.3 percent.

On a brighter note for the city, however, total assets of local nonprofits were almost double the national median. The 44 local organizations surveyed had total assets of $15.4 million compared with median assets of $8.5 million for the other markets.

"Pittsburgh is an older philanthropic market with quite a bit of working capital that's higher than the national median," said Ms. Miniutti. "That's positive, although growth and revenue spending was down. …

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