SMU DataArts - Cultural Data Profile


LA County Arts Commission Releases Report on Nonprofit Wages and Benefits Using CDP Data

  • Posted Apr 21, 2015

The Los Angeles County Arts Commission released the second report in a series exploring wages and benefits in arts nonprofits in the region using CDP data. A significant finding in this release—Benefits in Nonprofit Arts Organizations in LA County—shows arts nonprofits in LA County continued to provide health coverage to their employees even as their budgets were battered during one of the most difficult economic periods in US history.

This investigation looked at 190 nonprofit arts organizations in LA County that had paid employees in 2011, prior to implementation of the Affordable Care Act, and found that 53 percent of arts nonprofits with fewer than 50 employers provided health care coverage to their employees. By comparison, only 39 percent of all small employers in California provide health coverage. All arts nonprofits in LA County with 50 or more employees provided health coverage.

Spending on health benefits by arts nonprofits rose 58 percent per full time employee between 2007 and 2011 but the number of arts nonprofits providing this benefit fell by only 7 percent.

“Even as the Great Recession cut revenues for many arts nonprofits in LA County, and the cost of health care premiums rose, most maintained their commitment to those benefits,” states Laura Zucker, Executive Director, LA County Arts Commission. “In 2011, arts nonprofits in LA County invested $63.3 million for the equivalent of 4,650 full time employees. This is a tremendous example of the resiliency of arts organizations.”

While there is an ongoing commitment by arts nonprofits to provide employees health benefits, the picture is different for retirement benefits. Only 21 percent of arts nonprofits with paid employees offered them retirement benefits in 2011, well below the rate of 63 percent among all nonprofits in southern and central California.

The arts and culture sector is a major contributor to both the economy and quality of life in LA County. Research by the LA County Arts Commission is beginning to measure their investment in salaries and benefits for their employees. The first report in the series looked at salaries, and can be downloaded here. Future reports will look at earnings for contract workers in the industry, and volunteers.

This study used data collected by the CDP. Today, 37 public and private grantmakers in California require some or all of their arts and culture grantees to submit data to the CDP. The LA County Arts Commission has supported the CDP since 2009.

Read the full report here.

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