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Nonprofits Struggle to Stay in the Bay Area

New study shows 82 percent worry about survival

A study by Northern California Grantmakers found that a large number of nonprofit organizations are concerned about being displaced due to the cost of office space in the Bay Area. The study, called Status of Bay Area Nonprofit Space & Facilities, found that an overwhelming 82 percent of the organizations surveyed are worried about their survival and 68 percent think that the cost of office space will force them to relocate within five years. The study found that 38 percent of respondents reported they had already had to move in the last five years.

In an interview with KQED, Steve Barton, a consultant for NCG, said that the numbers were "scary." He predicted that in the future nonprofits were going to be very challenged to find affordable space.

The survey gathered the data from approximately 500 nonprofits in six Bay Area counties who serve the needs of arts organizations, youth, and the poor. The concerns were the same across the board, but in the interview Barton said San Francisco and Oakland seemed to feel the pinch most acutely. Nonprofits providing services to the poor and people of color seem to be particularly vulnerable to loosing their office space.

KQED spoke with Jack Boulware, the executive director for Litquake, about the problem. "We’ve had three different office spaces within the last 10 years," he said. "Already most of our staff and volunteer committee cannot afford to live in San Francisco any longer, so people have to commute in."