Government vs. Non-Profit Organizations in the US


Government and nonprofit organizations are frequently confused due to a large number of similarities, such as emphasis on the provided services, social benefits, and their distinct difference from business companies. Nevertheless, government and nonprofits organizations are different collective entities with distinguished objectives, financial sources, governing type, and approach to profitability. The current paper compares government and nonprofit organizations and analyzes the interdependence between US Education Department and YMCA.

Government and Nonprofit Organizations

In general, nonprofit organizations are business groups that provide various services for social benefits. The missions of such organizations frequently concern healthcare, education, religion, science, and public safety (Kenton, 2021). Nonprofit organizations commonly receive financial support from business groups, individuals, and charitable foundations (Folger, 2020). While nonprofit organizations do not generally acquire direct financial support from the government, such organizations are frequently granted tax-exempt status for income, sales, and property taxes (Morah, 2021). However, they need to provide sufficient evidence concerning the charitable cause and potential social benefits to acquire the said status (Morah, 2021). Therefore, relative independence from the government is the primary difference between nonprofit and federal organizations.

Another notable difference between the two types of organizations is their accounting and financial report frameworks. There are certain standards that both collective entities follow, such as conducting the statement of activities and statement of cash flows (CPS, 2018). However, nonprofit organizations are not legally required to publish comprehensive annual financial reports (CAFR), unlike government organizations (CPS, 2018). Therefore, there are certain differences between government and nonprofit organizations not only in the political aspect but also in their economic responsibilities.

The Relationship between the US Education Department and YMCA

Nevertheless, despite the mentioned differences, some nonprofit organizations are closely working with government entities and receive financial grants and social support. It is particularly noticeable in America, where the government is coexisting with nonprofit organizations to ensure the high quality of the provided services. One of such organizations is the American branch of the YMCA (Young Men’s Christian Association), which is commonly known as the Y in the United States (YMCA, n.d.). There are more than 10 000 local Y communities across the country, providing a large variety of services from youth development plans to diabetes prevention programs (YMCA, n.d.). Ultimately, the Y advances the social cause in education, healthcare, religion, and public safety.

The Y resorts to a large number of partnership programs with prominent business organizations, such as Walmart or Procter & Gamble, and the US government to ensure its financial security. One example of the collaboration between the Y and the government is the YMCA Early Learning Center in Ohio, which is financially supported by the Ohio Department of Education (YMCA, n.d.). The US Department of Education has also sponsored the YMCA community organization in Kansas by approving Kansas’ American Rescue Plan Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ARP ESSER) (Department of Education, 2021). Furthermore, the Y is a 501(c)(3) organization which indicates the tax-exempt status granted by the Internal Revenue Service (Kenton, 2020). Ultimately, the US Department of Education and the Y could potentially function without one another and provide similar services; however, the mentioned examples transparently demonstrate that the cooperation and interdependence between the two parties provide the overall better results.


Summing up, government and nonprofit organizations share a large number of similarities; however, they are different entities that frequently cooperate to ensure high-quality services. In the United States, the US Education Department cooperates with the YMCA nonprofit group by providing financial grants and assisting in the creation of development programs. As a result, a large variety of educational projects were made possible due to the cooperation of the US Education Department and the YMCA of the USA.


Capital Business Solutions. (2018). 3 major differences between government and nonprofit accounting. Web.

Folger, J. (2020). Does the Federal Government fund any NGOs? Which ones? Web.

Kenton, W. (2020). Nonprofit organization (NPO). Web.

Morah, C. (2021). Do nonprofit organizations pay taxes? Web.

U.S. Department of Education. (2021). U.S. Department of Education approves Kansas’ plan for use of American Rescue Plan funds to support K-12 schools and students, distributes remaining $277 million to state. Web.

YMCA. (n.d.). Our U.S. reach. Web.

YMCA. (n.d.). YMCA early learning center. Web.

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DemoEssays. "Government vs. Non-Profit Organizations in the US." November 12, 2022.