Sixty-one non-profit organizations based in Evanston reported revenue of more than $1 million in their most recent available annual reports filed with the Internal Revenue Service.

You likely won’t be surprised to learn that Northwestern University, with $3.1 billion in revenue, topped the list, or that two NorthShore University HealthSystem entities came in second and third with a combined revenue of $1.2 billion.

Next on the list are five entities related to the Mather senior continuing care communities. Combined they had revenue of $211 million.

Rotary International, headquartered at 1560 Sherman Ave., is next, with nearly $95 million in revenue.

The National Merit Scholarship Corporation, also headquartered at 1560 Sherman, follows, with nearly $49 million in revenue.

That’s followed by Unify America, a developer of software solutions designed to reduce political polarization headquartered at 1720 Central St., with nearly $45 million in revenue, and The Family Institute, a provider of behavioral health counseling, headquartered at 618 Library Place, with nearly $36 million.

The full searchable top-61 list is in the table below. The data, from the filings with the Internal Revenue Service, is provided through ProPublica’s Nonprofit Explorer website.

ProPublica lists more than 800 nonprofits based in Evanston. Most either report revenue of well under $1 million, are exempt from reporting because they are religious organizations or don’t report exact revenue numbers because they claim revenue of less than $50,000 a year.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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  1. Do any of these groups pay property taxes or contribute to the evanston Tax roll?
    Why are there so many non-for-profits in Evanston while so much of the light industry and other commercial companies seem to have left town for Skokie, Niles and other places?

  2. Thanks for writing this article. I feel like Evanston has a serious non for profit industrial complex!

    Where will Underwriters Laboratories (yet another non for profit) fit in to the list?

    I would love to know why evanston seems to only attract non for profits?

    And can any one who knows more about tax code then I do help clarify how much tax non for profits have to contribute to the city vs for profits?

    Thanks so much!

  3. Do not-for-profits pay any property taxes to Evanston? Does Evanston have any requirements of not-for-profits to require all property owners, including nonprofits, to make payments in lieu of taxes? Do we impose fees for specific services such as fire protection or snow removal? I know other towns do both of these. Has the city government ever looked at these in a serious way? It seems that for the town to have so many thriving not-for-profits while levying such high property taxes there is a hole to be filled. Has the city government ever attempted to do so?

    I am very grateful for this article. Would love this to be the start of a series so that we as Evanstonians understand the good and bad that comes along with not-for-profits. I know of so many businesses that have left Evanston because they couldn’t afford the cost of property taxes here only to be replaced by not-for-profit businesses that pay zero property taxes. That seems like very destructive policy.

    Can we look specifically at the case of the barns and nobles? What happened in terms of taxes to the city when they left and were replaced by a not-for-profit health group? Would make a great article!

    Thanks for addressing this issue. I look forward to hearing more.

  4. Most non profits in Cook County do not have to pay property taxes (nor sales taxes). They have to apply for this benefit and Cook County is very lenient on granting this. So for instance, if Connections for the Homeless gets to buy the Margarita with their 13 plus million in revenue – they will not be paying any taxes to Evanston.

    Also, Crains did a great article in 2019 on the abuse of this system as it relates to hospitals.

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