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Sangfroid Strategy Unlocks Transformational Data on the State of Cuyahoga County Nonprofits

During the past year, Sangfroid Strategy, a local data-driven strategy consulting firm, partnered with the Funders Collaborative for Covid Recovery to complete a landscape assessment of the nonprofit sector in Cuyahoga County.

This first-of-its-kind landscape assessment was built as an interactive web-based report utilizing nearly 3,000,000 data points. The analysis uncovered key information about the sector as a whole, trends in policy and advocacy, financial health, compensation trends, disparities in resource allocations, racial representation, and COVID-19 recovery needs.

The findings from this assessment will drive strategic efforts to build nonprofit resilience across the sector, as well as help the philanthropic community better understand how to more equitably distribute funds to and build resiliency within Black and Brown-led nonprofits across the region. Heather Lenz, CEO of Sangfroid Strategy, thinks these shifts cannot come quickly enough, “Cuyahoga County nonprofits have a long, rich history of providing essential services to the community. Sangfroid Strategy is excited to put real numbers, data, and the voices of so many nonprofits behind local philanthropic efforts—we cannot improve what we don’t measure.”

Here are a few key findings from the Landscape Assessment

  • Cuyahoga County has one active nonprofit for every 200 people, the region is saturated with both nonprofits and a strong local funding community. Many of these organizations are focused on hyper-local needs.

  • Many nonprofit workers are not making a living wage, with a median staff salary of $10.38/hour. These salaries are well below the $15-$20/hour needed to afford to live in Cuyahoga County.

  • Nearly 80% of Cuyahoga County nonprofits have annual revenues of less than $2M, and these organizations together receive an average of 30% of their total income from foundation grants alone. This is 10X the national average revenue from foundation grants across the sector. With only 12% coming from government grants and 31% from program service revenue, as a whole, a majority of small and medium-sized nonprofits are at significant financial risk.

  • Even though nearly 40% of nonprofits are led by people of color, less than 10% of all foundation monies go to support nonprofits led by people of color.

  • While Black- and Brown-led organizations have median revenues 53% less than White-led organizations, they are paying their employees 14% more.

  • At least 1 in 5 nonprofits are operating in a financial crisis—with just 2% of nonprofits holding 93% of all $51B in nonprofit assets locally, many nonprofits are operating without reserves in the bank.

“There are powerful lessons we can take from these findings and there are many more conversations needed to fully comprehend what our first round of data shows,” says Lenz. “We need to be using this data to measure our region’s progress towards ensuring resources are distributed equitably across the sector and making sure that the people who spend every day working to combat poverty aren’t being kept in poverty while doing so.”

The public can interact with the full assessment online at or read the Report of Key Findings from the Cuyahoga Nonprofit Landscape Assessment here.


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