The New England Foundation for the Arts (NEFA) has released a new report, New England’s Creative Economy: Nonprofit Sector Impact (2011), authored by the team of Planning Decisions, Inc., the Maine Center for Creativity, and Professor Charles Colgan, Ph.D. 

Using the most comprehensive and timely data available, the report provides quantitative evidence of the value of a vital subset of the creative economy, backed up by expert analysis and explanation. In 2009, New England nonprofit arts and cultural organizations:

  • Spent nearly $3.7 billion;
  • Supported over 53,000 full- and part-time jobs; and
  • Generated a total economic impact on the broader New England economy of over $8 billion in revenue for regional businesses and over 83,000 jobs for regional workers.

In aggregate, every $1.00 spent by a New England nonprofit arts and cultural organization became $2.30 in sales for businesses across the region, and every job provided became 1.6 jobs for workers across the region.

In addition, spending by nonprofit arts and cultural organizations increased by 11.5% since 2007, despite a decline in assets of 6.9%, showing a sector less subject to the cyclical ups and downs of the overall economy than the average New England business.

“NEFA is a leader in helping us understand the importance of the creative economy," said National Endowment for the Arts Chairman Rocco Landesman.  "Arts organizations create real jobs, help make our communities vibrant, and drive innovation.  They are a vital component of our country's overall economy."

For more than 30 years, NEFA has undertaken groundbreaking work to demonstrate the economic impact of the cultural sector.  “This report really showcases the significance of the role arts and cultural organizations continue to play as part of the region’s economy – investing in space, staff, utilities, visitors – and contributing as any other industry,” said NEFA Research Manager Dee Schneidman.  “Providing this data and analysis is an on-going priority for NEFA’s service to arts advocates as they demonstrate that they are worthwhile investments."

The full report, including data sheets for each of the six New England states, is available to view or download at

About NEFA
NEFA creatively supports the movement of people, ideas, and resources in the arts within New England and beyond, makes vital connections between artists and communities, and builds the strength, knowledge, and leadership of the creative sector. NEFA is a 501 (c) (3) that operates with funding from the National Endowment for the Arts, the New England state arts agencies, and from corporations, foundations and individuals.

NEFA administers grantmaking programs of regional, national, and international scope to support the performing arts, public art, and Native American artists. NEFA also leads projects and initiatives that range from the analysis of the impact of the creative economy to the creation of online tools which link and advance the cultural community. For more information on NEFA’s grant programs and services, please visit or call 617.951.0010.



Ann Wicks, or 617.951.0010 x534