According to a recent survey conducted by the McKenna Foundation in New Braunfels, area nonprofit organizations saw increased funding and staffing during fiscal year 2021 compared to fiscal year 2019.

First conducted after FY 2019, this year the study used survey responses from 35 New Braunfels and Comal County-based nonprofit organizations, McKenna Foundation CEO Alice Jewell said during a June 28 meeting with representatives from area organizations.

Of the 56 individuals invited to complete the survey, 50 responded to the 2019 survey, and 48 responded to the 2021 survey. The study was not conducted following FY 2020.

According to the study, organizations saw a collective 36% increase in staffing in 2021 compared to 2019, accounting for $41 million paid in total annual payroll expenditures.

“When you had most of the nation downsizing, we were bringing in people, and we were growing because we still had to do the job,” said Trendy Sharp, executive director of the Children’s Advocacy Center of Comal County. “We've actually not just replaced the people that left during the pandemic, but we've grown bigger, and I know that we're not alone in that.”

As nonprofit organizations worked to meet growing needs in the community, revenue sources shifted due to changes in operations and additional funds made available through government programs, Jewell said.

Total annual revenue for nonprofits rose from $56.4 million in 2019 to $82 million in 2021, accounting for a 46% increase, according to the study.

While revenue generated by special events and the sale of goods decreased, support from government or public agencies, individual donors and foundations increased.

Many organizations also began new programs that provided new opportunities for grant funding, Jewell said.

“The cool thing is we have now established these programs that are here for the first time in the county,” Jewell said. “We can be applying for government money whereas before we would just lose out because we didn’t have a program that qualified.”

According to the study, local organizations contributed $68 million back into the local economy through payroll, supply purchases and operational costs. The figure is up 33% from 2019.

Through the survey, Jewell said participants identified access to transportation, affordable housing, mental health services and affordable medical care as the greatest needs in the community.

The study also indicated that the greatest needs among nonprofits are additional staff, volunteers, board members and office space.

As organizations continue to meet the needs of area residents, Jewell said the McKenna Foundation will continue to support the staff and volunteers of those organizations.

“You generated more revenue, hired more staff, served more people, and the truth is, without you many families would have been homeless. They would have been hungry, and perhaps worst of all, they would have been hopeless,” Jewell said during the June 28 meeting. “We’ve got more people in crisis today than ever before. ... When you have a community that’s bleeding you have to respond.”