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Data Research

Learn about the value of human services, the lasting effects of ongoing budget cuts on community well being and the efficiency of our sector compared to other Illinois industries.


Government is the Foundation of Well-Being: Why Philanthropy Cannot Replace Government in Helping Illinois Communities Reach Their Potential

Our new report analyzes government funding, individual income data, charitable donations, local foundations, and tax policy, among others, to demonstrate the essential – but limited – role philanthropy plays in supporting government funded human services, and government ’s irreplaceable role in addressing the scale of human services needs in a large state like Illinois.

Lean as Anyone Else: How Operational Efficiency of Human Services Compares Among Illinois Industries

The ongoing budget and financial issues in our state have put tremendous pressure on human service, education and health care providers to operate as efficiently as possible as slowed payment or nonpayment for services places unprecedented pressure on cash flow. How efficiently do nonprofits run? How do human service enterprises and industries compare organizationally to other industries where few observers advocate for shakeouts or mergers? This study shows that on average, Illinois human service organizations operate as efficiently, and in some cases more efficiently, than other Illinois industries.

Establishments and employment per firm

Damage of Illinois Budget Impasse: Community by Community Heat Map

Illinois’ budget impasse caused lasting damage on human service organizations as many are still being forced to cancel programs, lay off staff, and close their doors while others continue to experience delays in payments, as well as uncertainty on whether their contracts will be issued.

As fewer people have access to services, the well-being of our community declines. Our report, released in August 2016, provides a full and clear picture – community by community – of the damage and impact of the recent budget crisis.

A “heat map” of affected providers

Analysis: Declining Value of Human Services Reimbursements

Several human services programs receive state funding through reimbursement rates, which are intended to cover the costs of providing services. Service providers in many fields report that current rates fail to keep up with actual costs, which include staff wages and benefits, facility costs and transportation costs. Most providers have little choice but to accept contracts that end up forcing them to cover the difference between what the State of Illinois will pay for a service and the actual cost of providing the service.

This February 2016 report provides insight into reimbursement rates across the human services sector, along with a comprehensive review of reimbursement rates and answers key questions: How long have rates remained unchanged? How far behind the cost of living have the rates fallen? What challenges do stagnant rates present for service providers?

Failing to keep up

Human Services as an Economic Engine

What is the impact of human services to the vitality of communities in our state? Providers in counties throughout Illinois make a major contribution to the state economy generating $4.5 billion a year in spending – economic activity that generates some $597 million in state and local taxes, as our May 2016 report demonstrates. It is an industry full of small businesses serving as an important job creator. Contrary to public perception many human services workers are well educated: 36% have a college degree yet they are poorly paid earning less than two-thirds of what workers overall with similar education earn in Illinois.

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Research from our Partner Organizatons

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Our sector is stronger when it speaks with a shared voice. From advocacy tools to reframing human services, find the resources you need to engage leaders and change the conversation on human services.

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