Another Effort At Efficiently Crunching 990 Data

Thanks to the Non-Profit Law Blog’s weekly curated link list, I learned that there is a new collaborative working on a way to provide a clearinghouse for raw, clean, and standardized nonprofit tax data gathered from Form 990 filings.

While that may not sound like it is relevant to your daily life at all, being able to easily access that day will make researching non-profits much easier, hopefully resulting in data which will support better decision making.

Drew McManus painstakingly extracted data from 990 filings from 2005 to 2022 for his annual Orchestra Compensation Report project on Adaptistration. He would frequently grumble about the fact that the data was not available in a machine readable format that would make that data so much easier to process and shift through. If I recall correctly, his go to source was the Pro Publica Non Profit Explorer which is contributing their data to this new clearinghouse.

Having good data about things like compensation can help advance equity and inclusion goals. The Association of Performing Arts Professionals (APAP) is engaged in an Art Compensation Project for some of these very reasons.

Better data crunching capabilities can also facilitate the study of differences by region and discipline for revenues, expenses, impact of private vs. public & government based grant making, etc.

Given that there have been so many groups who have attempted to serve as a clearinghouse for 990 data, the biggest question perhaps is whether this new collaboration can make it work better than in the past.

About Joe Patti

I have been writing Butts in the Seats (BitS) on topics of arts and cultural administration since 2004 (yikes!). Given the ever evolving concerns facing the sector, I have yet to exhaust the available subject matter. In addition to BitS, I am a founding contributor to the ArtsHacker ( website where I focus on topics related to boards, law, governance, policy and practice.

I am also an evangelist for the effort to Build Public Will For Arts and Culture being helmed by Arts Midwest and the Metropolitan Group. (

My most recent role was as Executive Director of the Grand Opera House in Macon, GA.

Among the things I am most proud are having produced an opera in the Hawaiian language and a dance drama about Hawaii's snow goddess Poli'ahu while working as a Theater Manager in Hawaii. Though there are many more highlights than there is space here to list.


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