Community groups in Philadelphia have completed 1,500 construction jobs, major rehabilitations, and other related efforts at a cost of $2.2 billion during the last 20 years, in inflation-adjusted terms, says a study scheduled for release Wednesday.
The study, commissioned by the Philadelphia Association of Community Development Corporations and supported by a $50,000 grant from Citi Community Development, is the first accounting of the community-development sector in Philadelphia, the association said.
Many types of nonprofit community groups can be categorized as community-development corporations. Their focus can be affordable housing, economic development, social assistance, or a combination of those and other community-improvement efforts.
Community-development corporations included in the report range in size from the Salvation Army, with an annual average budget of $34 million over three years, to the Wynnefield Overbrook Revitalization Corp., which reported an average annual budget of $72,500.
The Salvation Army, which is not listed as a member on the development association's website, accounted for $122 million in projects, including $72 million for the Kroc Center in Nicetown.
Of the organizations in the study, the Salvation Army is the "least CDClike," said Rick Sauer, executive director of the community-development association.
The study by Econsult Corp. tallied data reported by 44 organizations and ran them through a model to estimate a total economic impact over 20 years of $3.3 billion, or an average $165 million annually.
The broader calculation includes an estimated spin-off effect on tax revenue of improved property values in neighborhoods that are home to community-development projects.
The study's goal was to solidify support for the development groups in the public and private sectors.
"Especially in a time of dwindling resources, when smart decisions need to be made about investments," Sauer said, "we wanted to be able to better talk about what the industry has accomplished."
Economic-impact reports are a popular way for groups or industries to demonstrate how important they are to regional economies.
In September, the Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance published a study pegging the economic impact of 345 arts and cultural organizations in fiscal 2010 at $3.3 billion.
A weakness of economic-impact studies is that they assume certain economic activity would not happen without the organizations being profiled, even though it is probable that individuals or the government would spend that money elsewhere, affecting another economic arena or another set of organizations.