Posted By: Brooke Robertson For Good Connections, Learning Together,

Nonprofit 501(c)3 Organizations: Vital Contributors to South Carolina's Workforce Celebrated During Workforce Month Draws to a Close.  

As Workforce Month is celebrated throughout the state, Together SC, in partnership with the USC Upstate Johnson College of Business and Economics we are excited to shed light on the significant role of nonprofit 501(c)3 organizations in South Carolina's social and economic fabric. These organizations contribute to SC’s economic growth, diversity, and resilience.  

The impact of nonprofit 501(c)3 organizations on South Carolina's workforce is undeniable, as revealed by USC Upstate College of Business and Economics and Sam Cooper, PhD a comprehensive analysis of publicly available data from 2020, including IRS 990 forms, U.S. Census Bureau, Bureau of Labor Statistics, and other relevant sources.  

“The influence of nonprofits transcends purely economic impact.  Nonprofits positively affect the lives of individuals and families, thus improving the overall quality of life in South Carolina communities. Together SC works tirelessly to assist and advocate for the state’s nonprofit organizations so that their impact is maximized for the people of South Carolina. We hope that the findings from our research will further the efforts of the dedicated individuals working in the nonprofit space as they serve the residents of South Carolina.”   

  • Sam Cooper, Ph.D., Director of Strategic Initiatives and Special Projects, Johnson College of Business and Economics 


Key findings data underscore the pivotal role of nonprofits: 

  • Diverse Representation: 501(c)3 organizations account for 4.8% of all business/economic establishments in South Carolina, emphasizing their wide-ranging impact across various sectors. 

  • Employment Impact: Nonprofits employ a staggering 8.4% (171,642) of all nonfarm employees in South Carolina, reflecting their contribution to job creation and economic stability. 

  • Wage Generation: These organizations paid a substantial sum of nearly $6.5 billion in wages, ensuring financial security for countless individuals and families. 

  • Significant Industry Ranking: South Carolina's nonprofit sector ranks as the 5th largest industry sector based on the number of employees, underscoring its significance within the state's economy. 

  • Mean Wage Growth: The mean wage for nonprofit employees in South Carolina experienced a noteworthy increase of 23% from 2015 to 2020, reaching $37,572, reflecting the sector's commitment to fair compensation. 

  • Leading Sectors: Health-related organizations were the largest nonprofit sector in South Carolina, responsible for paying 60% of nonprofit wages, followed by education at 16%. 

  • Regional Influence: The seven counties with populations exceeding 250,000 serve as homes to 59% of all South Carolina-based 501(c)3 organizations, employing 63% of nonprofit workers and paying 67% of wages. 

  • Prominent Contributors: The largest 25 organizations that submitted IRS 990 forms in 2020 collectively employed a substantial 86,349 individuals. 


This extensive data, provided in the College of Business and Economics at USC Upstate report, reflects the immense contributions of nonprofit 501(c)3 organizations to South Carolina's workforce and overall prosperity.  

Learn more, download infographics and download the report here: