State Profile – California


About This Profile

Across the United States, the charitable sector generates incredible impact on both communities and economies. This profile is a snapshot of major statistics about California’s charitable community. It’s designed to give you a broad sense of the scale and diversity of nonprofits, foundations, and charities across the state. A downloadable PDF version is available above.

Number of California Nonprofit Organizations

  • All nonprofit organizations: 144,728
  • 501(c)(3) Public Charities (includes some religious organizations): 123,321
  • 501(c)(3) Private and Public Foundations: 11,891
  • Other 501(c) Nonprofit Organizations*: 35,571
    * includes civic leagues, chamber of commerce, veterans organizations, etc

Economic Impact of the California Nonprofit Sector

  • Employs 1,112,268 – about 7.8% of the state’s workforce
  • Generates more than $208.5 billion in annual revenues
  • Holds assets of $328.3 billion
  • California foundations annually give almost $8.3 billion
  • Californians give over $25 billion to charity each year, representing 2.79 percent of household income

Public Charities and Foundations Benefit California Communities

Deliver vital community services

The Downtown Women’s Center (DWC) is the only organization in Los Angeles focused exclusively on serving and empowering women experiencing homelessness and formerly homeless women. Using the Housing First model, DWC provides 119 units of permanent supportive housing for single unaccompanied women across two residences in downtown Los Angeles.

Give voice to the people they serve

Net Impact empowers young people to achieve social change on campus and through building “impact careers.” By providing a peer network and online and in-person career development resources, they have created a community of over 80,000 student and professional leaders from over 300 volunteer-led chapters across the globe working for a sustainable future.

Contribute to vibrant communities

2020 Mom, formerly the California Maternal Mental Health Collaborative, is a national non-profit that promotes the mental health of women before, during and after pregnancy. Up to 20% of women will experience a maternal mental health disorder, like postpartum depression.

Advance solutions for challenges facing society

By 2029, the Stupski Foundation commits to ensure members of our communities have the food they need to lead active, healthy lives. The Foundation is partnering with community-based organizations and public agencies to improve outreach and

enrollment in CalFresh, the state’s food assistance program. Their partners are developing scalable, user-centered solutions to reduce wrongful denials.


Note: The “nonprofit sector” encompasses organizations that are defined as tax-exempt under section 501(c) of the Internal Revenue Code. This includes both public charities and private foundations [501(c)(3)] and other nonprofits such as civic league organizations [501(c)(4)]. Exceptions are noted when relevant.

Employment Information

Best estimate based on available data from the following sources:

The 2019 nonprofit employment report, Lester M. Salamon and Chelsea L. Newhouse, S. Wojciech Sokolowski, Nonprofit Employment Bulletin #47, Johns Hopkins Center for Civil Society Studies, 2019 {Data is 2016, page 3}

Breakdown by Nonprofit Service Area

California Association of Nonprofits, Causes Count (based on 501(c)(3) public charities other than religion-related who are active filers of information returns) {August 2014}


Number of Nonprofits

Urban Institute, National Center for Charitable Statistics, State Summary reports {Data are 2013}

Asset and Revenues

Urban Institute, National Center for Charitable Statistics, “Registered Nonprofit Organizations by State (BMF 12/2015)” {Data are 2015}

Foundation Giving

The Foundation Center, FC Stats: “Foundation Stats: Total Grantmaking Foundations” {Data are 2015}

Individual Giving

How America Gives, 2014. The Chronicle of Philanthropy. {Data are 2012}.

Nonprofit Examples:

Downtown Women’s Center:

2020 Mom:

Net Impact:

Stupski Foundation:


As of August 2019

Key Insights

Related Resources