State Profile – District of Columbia

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 Washington, DC’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 Washington, DC Nonprofit Organizations

  • All nonprofit organizations: 12,367
  • 501(c)(3) Public Charities (includes some religious organizations): 8,024
  • 501(c)(3) Private and Public Foundations: 497
  • Other 501(c) Nonprofit Organizations*: 3,846

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


Economic Impact of the Washington, DC Nonprofit Sector

  • Employs 134,591 – about 26% of the state’s workforce
  • Generates more almost $48 billion in annual revenues
  • Holds assets of $86.7 billion
  • DC foundations annually give almost $453 million
  • DC residents give over $894 million to charity each year, representing 4 percent of household income

Public Charities and Foundations Benefit Washington, DC Communities

Deliver vital community services

Lutheran Services in America represents over 300 health and human services organizations that reach 6 million people annually, touching the lives of 1 in 50 people in the U.S. each year. Launched in 2017 with a $500,000 goal, the Realizing the Promise campaign is advancing solutions that address the urgent needs of Americans.

Give hope to the people they serve

Affecting more than 2.3 million people, multiple sclerosis is an unpredictable, often disabling disease of the central nervous system. In 2018, National Multiple Sclerosis Society engaged 41,357 MS advocates and recruited 20 healthcare providers to join the faculty of the Clinical Fellows Difficult Case Discussions program, launching new relationships with several high-profile providers.

Contribute to vibrant communities

Americans for the Arts is the nation’s leading nonprofit organization for advancing the arts in this country. In 2017, Americans for the Arts launched the Arts Mobilization Center — a hub of information and resources for arts advocates.

Advance solutions for challenges facing society

YWCA National Capital Area is one of the oldest and largest multi-cultural organizations in Washington, DC. Their mission is to eliminate racism, empower women, and to promote peace, justice, freedom and dignity for all. The YWCA offers career education and training, youth mentorship opportunities and advocacy opportunities to advance racial justice.




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}

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:

Americans for the Arts:

YWCA of National Capital Area:

Lutheran Services in America: and

National Multiple Sclerosis Society: and


As of October 2019


Resource Types: Fact Sheet