State Profile – Colorado

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 Colorado’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 Colorado Nonprofit Organizations

  • All nonprofit organizations: 23,148
  • 501(c)(3) Public Charities (includes some religious organizations): 18,166
  • 501(c)(3) Private and Public Foundations: 1,020
  • Other 501(c) Nonprofit Organizations*: 3,962

* includes civic leagues, chamber of commerce, veterans organizations, etc


Economic Impact of the Colorado Nonprofit Sector

  • Employs 190,000 – almost 8% of the state’s workforce
  • Generates more almost $30 billion in annual revenues
  • Holds assets of $65 billion
  • Colorado foundations annually give almost $834 million
  • Coloradoans give over $3.4 billion to charity each year, representing 2.87 percent of household income

Public Charities and Foundations Benefit Colorado Communities

Deliver vital community services

The American Indian College Fund helps Native American students, providing them with support through scholarships and funding toward higher education. From 2017-2018, the College Fund distributed over $7 million in direct support to students.

Give voice to the people they serve

Mercy Housing has served more than 152,000 people by participating in the development, preservation and/or financing of more than 48,200 affordable homes. Mercy Housing’s goal is to support efforts to promote policies—both legislative and regulatory– aimed at improving housing opportunities for those in need.

Contribute to vibrant communities

Started 30 years ago, the Colorado Nonprofit Association has made Colorado nonprofits stronger by leading research on charitable giving trends. The Association also advocates for nonprofits with policymakers on issues such as how to incentivize charitable giving, create efficiencies in the services nonprofits deliver, and promote accountability.

Advance solutions for challenges facing society

The Leighty Foundation is a family foundation that is committed to enhancing the impact of Colorado’s nonprofits. Each year, it awards grants to area organizations working on issues such as education, health, environmental sustainability, and fostering community. In order to leverage charitable giving even further, the foundation provides considerable funding to organizations who seek to grow their volunteer programs.



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

Return on Investment: The Economic Impact of the Nonprofit Sector in Colorado, Lester M. Salamon, Stephanie Lessans Geller, S. Wojciech Sokolowski, Kevin Raines
(Denver: Colorado Nonprofit Association, 2008). {Data are 2005, page 10}


Number of Nonprofits

Economic Contributions of Colorado’s Nonprofit Sector, 2017, Economic & Planning Systems and Corona Insights.

Asset and Revenues

Economic Contributions of Colorado’s Nonprofit Sector, 2017, Economic & Planning Systems and Corona Insights.

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:

Colorado Nonprofit Association: and

The American Indian College Fund:

The Leighty Foundation:

Mercy Housing:


As of September 2019


Resource Types: Fact Sheet