Scope of the Arizona Nonprofit Sector

Charitable organizations

Charitable organizationsCharitable organizations (charities) are IRS-defined 501(c)(3) organizations, of which there are two types: public charities and private foundations.

Public charities receive broad public support in the form of donations and volunteer service, and most of them directly serve people and communities. Ninety-four percent of charitable organizations are public charities. The remaining six percent are private foundations, which typically have revenues derived from a single source of wealth (individual, family or corporation) and support the work of public charities or educational institutions through grants. A minority of private foundations fund and operate their own charitable activities; they are called private operating foundations.

Visit the pages named public charities and private foundations for more information, including interactive charts with detailed data on revenues and expenditures, sub-sector types, and county-specific breakdowns.

The majority of charitable organizations are based in Maricopa and Pima counties, where Arizona’s major urban centers, Phoenix and Tucson, are located. A total of 11,417 charitable organizations operate from Maricopa county (home to Phoenix) and 3,280 operate from Pima county (home to Tucson).

While Maricopa and Pima represent the majority of Arizona’s charitable organizations, several counties have as many or more charitable organizations per capita, including Yavapai, Coconino, Cochise, and Gila counties. The map below depicts the total number of charities based in each Arizona county; the green shade reflects density of nonprofits per capita.

Arizona Private Foundations and Public Charities

Number of charitable organizations in Arizona counties and number of charities per capita


Number of charities by type of 990 filed

Type of IRS Form Number of Charities Revenue 
Full 990 4,141 $29.43 B
990 PF 1,104 $0.57 B
990EZ 1,785 $0.17 B
990N 7,357 -
Did not file 5,062 -


Source: NCCS Circa 2015 and IRS 2018

Note: Not all nonprofits are required to file a form 990 with the IRS disclosing their financial information. Organizations with over $50,000 in gross receipts were required to file the 990 or 990-EZ, and private foundations were required to file the 990-PF. Religious congregations are not required to file a 990 of any kind.

In 2015, 21% of charitable organizations filed the full 990 form, however, their revenues represented 97% of total reported revenues.