The socioeconomic impacts of faith-based organizations cannot be understated. You can find information about the impacts of FBOs on their communities featured on the Bricks and Mortals blog here and here.
In a 2016 study from Georgetown University Professor Brian J. Grim and Melissa E. Grim from the Newseum Institute in Washington, DC presents quantitative estimates of the economic value that religious institutions add to U.S. society. A conservative measure of impact is $378 billion dollars annually - that’s right, one-third of a billion dollars each year! Researchers believe that figure is a conservative case, and also offer estimates of mid-range impact in the amount of $1 trillion dollars annually and a high estimate of $4.8 trillion dollars.
Conservative numbers from the study only take the revenue of FBOs into consideration. The mid-range estimate takes the market value of goods and services provided by FBOs and the contribution of businesses with religious roots into account. High figures were based on the income of religiously affiliated Americans and assume that people of faith conduct their affairs, to some extent, “inspired and guided by faith ideals”. This includes money paid to faith-affiliated higher education institutions and high school and elementary institutions; faith-affiliated health providers; spending by US congregations; media spending; and, food.
There are some limitations to the study and the authors of the research study thus propose other possible lines of research that can build on their findings. As an example, the study did not include the value of financial or physical assets held by FBOs. Therefore, future study on the socioeconomic impacts associated with the financial and physical assets of FBOs and how they are utilized to stabilize communities in the U.S. can help in better understanding the impact of FBOs.
Read more about the study here.
Main Image: Renan Kamikoga on Unsplash