State Profile – Rhode Island

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 Rhode Island’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 Rhode Island Nonprofit Organizations

  • All nonprofit organizations: 6,617
  • 501(c)(3) Public Charities (includes some religious organizations): 3,434
  • 501(c)(3) Private and Public Foundations: 998
  • Other 501(c) Nonprofit Organizations*: 2,185

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


Economic Impact of the Rhode Island Nonprofit Sector

  • Employs 70,300 – over 18% of the state’s workforce
  • Generates over $13 billion in annual revenues
  • Holds assets of $31.7 billion
  • Rhode Island foundations annually give over $361 billion
  • Rhode Islanders give over $469.2 million to charity each year, representing 2.2 percent of household income

Public Charities and Foundations Benefit Rhode Island Communities

Provide direct services to youth
The local Girl Scouts council provides girls in K-12 with a wide variety of leadership opportunities. In addition to leadership, other areas of focus include financial literacy, STEM skills, health and wellness, and environmental awareness.  The Girl Scouts of Southeastern New England serve 8,700 girls each year.

Deliver vital community services
The Rhode Island Community Foodbank, a member of Feeding America, serves 60,000 Rhode Islanders each month. One in three served is a child under 18 and one in five served is over the age of 60. In 2015, 9.7 million pounds of food was distributed, including more than 2 million pounds of fresh produce.

Contribute to the health of our communities
The Rhode Island chapter of the March of Dimes works to help the 1 in 9 babies born prematurely in the state through education and intervention with moms-to-be and their families. March of Dimes also provides grants to researchers working to understand birth defects and premature birth to find treatments.

Advance solutions for challenges facing society
Celebrating 100 years of responding to the needs of the state, the Rhode Island Foundation distributed a record $41.5 million in grants to more than 1,600 organizations in 2015. One focus is improving the economy. The grantee, Center for Women & Enterprise, provides women and minority entrepreneurs with business training, resources, and microloans.



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:

Number of nonprofit employees: Holding the Fort: Nonprofit Employment During a Decade of Turmoil, Lester Salamon and S.Wojciech Sokolowski, Stephanie L. Geller, Nonprofit Employment Bulletin #39, Johns Hopkins Center for Civil Society Studies, 2012 {Data is 2010, 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 2013}

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

Nonprofit Examples:

Updated: June 2016


Resource Types: Fact Sheet