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STUDY FOCUSES ON UTAH AGENCIES

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It's hard to sell the public on the importance of nonprofit organizations if the agencies themselves don't know how many there are, what their goals and causes are or how they operate.

The Utah Nonprofits Association has undertaken a three-year study of nonprofit agencies in Utah. Under SUNUP (State of Utah Nonprofit Understanding Project), researcher Steve Klass and associates will gather information about the size, focus, distribution and contribution of the nonprofit sector in Utah.It's a fast-growing group. More than 70 percent of the active nonprofits were formed in the past 20 years, with dramatic increases in the past six years.

Economic data is limited. But the agencies with four or more employees employ about 12,000 workers and generated $53 million in wages last year. In 1994, total assets of Utah's nonprofit groups exceeded $6.2 billion, with 42 percent of that held by charitable organizations and 42 percent held by credit unions.