October 26, 2015

Carson's Claim That 9 in 10 Nonprofits Fail Is Unfounded

The Washington Post and are unable to find IRS data to support the claim by Republican presidential contender Ben Carson that nine in 10 nonprofits fail.

Mr. Carson has frequently cited this statistic to demonstrate the success of the Carson Scholars Fund, a scholarship fund he and his wife created in 1994. However, according to the Urban Institute’s National Center for Charitable Statistics, nearly one in four nonprofit scholarship funds like Carson’s created in the same year are still active. More broadly, the media fact-checkers found that more than half of the organizations that received their tax-exempt status 20 years ago were still registered with the IRS in 2015, and 30 percent reported financial activity.

One nonprofit expert said Mr. Carson may be referring to nonprofits that fail to become financially sustainable, though that doesn’t necessarily mean the organization has failed.