State Profile – Wisconsin


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 Wisconsin’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 Wisconsin Nonprofit Organizations

  • All nonprofit organizations: 30,854
  • 501(c)(3) Public Charities (includes some religious organizations): 18,725
  • 501(c)(3) Private and Public Foundations: 2,074
  • Other 501(c) Nonprofit Organizations*: 10,055

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


Economic Impact of the Wisconsin Nonprofit Sector

  • Employs 291,393 – over 11.9% of the state’s workforce
  • Generates more than $49 billion in annual revenues
  • Holds assets of almost $91 billion
  • Wisconsin foundations annually give almost $696 million
  • Wisconsinites give over $2.7 billion to charity each year, representing 2.52 percent of household income

Public Charities and Foundations Benefit Wisconsin Communities

Deliver vital community services
Catholic Charities of Madison, Wisconsin is a non-profit
agency affiliated with Catholic Charities USA, the nation’s
largest private network of people helping people. With over 25
programs in 11 counties in Southern Wisconsin, their
programs help seniors, those living with a disability, individual
and family counseling, mobile food pantries in rural
communities, addiction treatment, those experiencing
homelessness, and more.

Give voice to the people they serve
Girl Scouts of Wisconsin Southeast (GSWISE) is more than
23,000 strong–-serving 16,530 girls in grades K5-12 and
6,664 adults who believe in their mission of building girls of
courage, confidence, and character, who take the lead in
making the world a better place. The Girl Scout Promise
Program brings the power of Girl Scouting to girls living in the
most at-risk communities in southeastern Wisconsin.

Contribute to vibrant communities
The Madison Museum of Contemporary Art has hosted an
annual Art Fair on the Square for over 50 years that draws a
crowd of nearly 200,000 to the city’s center over two days each
July. MMoCA supports the community through outreach and
education programs for youth and families year-round.

Advance solutions for challenges facing society
The Alliance for Strong Families and Communities is a national
strategic action network driven by members aligned through a
common vision to achieve a healthy and equitable society. In
2018, the Alliance launched new Alliance Peer Exchanges
(APEX) groups in health, education, and equity to help
members establish cross-sector partnerships, advocate for
services, and build capacity for innovation. 1,406 individuals
participated in 10 unique peer exchange groups.



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: 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:
Girl Scouts of Wisconsin Southeast: and
Catholic Charities Madison:
Madison Museum of Contemporary Art: and
Alliance for Strong Families and Communities:

As of October 2019

Resource Types: Fact Sheet