Economic Halo Effect

You may read the FULL REPORT here. Below are some of the highlights of the report.

Background and Context

This report provides an estimation of Trinity United Methodist Church’s annual impact on the regional economy. It is based on a series of surveys conducted in April of 2018 with key leadership, including the Rev. Nancy Dixon Walton, Senior Pastor, and Darryl Dayson, Associate Pastor.

In 1996, with the support of the Lilly Endowment and other funders, Partners for Sacred Places conducted the first scientific study in which the contributions of congregations housed in historic and older buildings were quantified. Conducted in Partnership with Dr. Ram Cnaan and the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Social Policy and Practice, this study, Sacred Places at Risk, found that an average urban congregation creates over $140,000 per year in value through the contribution of volunteer time; space at below market rates; and cash and in-kind donations to community-serving programs. The study also found that four of five individuals who visit a given sacred place are beneficiaries of the sacred place’s programming rather than members of the congregation.

National Study on the Halo Effect of Urban Sacred Places

Though groundbreaking, Sacred Places at Risk and subsequent works did not attempt to quantify all of the ways that congregations impact their communities. In 2010, Partners was funded by the William Penn Foundation to test the concept of an expanded methodology. Partners again collaborated with Dr. Cnaan and the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Social Policy and Practice to craft a comprehensive approach to quantifying the public value of congregations. The pilot, conducted in Philadelphia, sought to take into consideration factors such as area spending and support for local businesses; building maintenance costs;
visitor spending; activities that promote community economic development; the impact on individuals’ lives; and values inherent to religious properties (green space and recreation space).