“We are all born good to do good,” said Catherine Hyde, director of the Pay It Forward Foundation.

Anyone who does not do this, she says, “has unlearned it.”

The Pay It Forward Foundation, based in San Luis Obispo County, was established in 2000 to inspire students to change the world, and give them opportunities to do so.

With the more than 200 people in attendance Thursday at their first meeting for “The Economic Impact of Nonprofit Corporations in SLO County,” Pay It Forward is already influencing the community.

There are more than 1,000 nonprofit organizations in San Luis Obispo County. A survey done by the Nonprofit Economic Impact Study Committee found that a reported 1.6 million people are being helped by volunteers within the county. On average, $1,400 is allocated to each person.

More than 20,000 volunteers have contributed almost one million hours of their time. There are almost 4,000 employees, making a combined total of $61.9 million in salaries.

Nonprofit organizations in San Luis Obispo County spent about $135 million in 2005.

San Luis Obispo County Supervisor Jim Patterson, emphasized that the numbers are “an absolute minimum estimate,” since only 21 percent of the organizations answered the survey.

“You really do figure out who needs to be served, and that’s pretty incredible,” said Betsey Nash, owner of Nash HR Services.

Even with the staggering number of nonprofits in San Luis Obispo County, California still has a low rate of volunteers, 27 percent, compared to the rest of the country.

“Changing lives and improving lives” is the bottom line, not the dollar, said Jenifer Rhynes, Executive Director of San Luis Obispo County’s Y.M.C.A.

For further information, and to view the economic report online, visit www.unitedwayslo.org.

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