A little-known student lender tops the Business Journal's list of 50 largest charitable nonprofit organizations in Los Angeles.

Access to Loans for Learning Student Loan Corp., better known as All Student Loan, is No. 1 with $850 million in assets, besting such giants as the California Community Foundation, whose $512 million in assets placed its second.

Also in the Top 10 were other relatively obscure organizations, including No. 3 Daughters of Charity Foundation, a Catholic foundation run by an order of sisters, and No. 5 QueensCare, a religious-oriented medical care provider.

While the Rand Corp. think tank placed fourth with $354 million in assets, another far less well-known research institution called the Aerospace Corp. had more employees than any other organization.

Another surprise: the young Skirball Cultural Center bested all other cultural institutions, including the venerable Los Angeles County Museum of Art, with $232 million in assets, placing it ninth.

"There are so many different types of non-profits," said Elise Buik, acting chief executive of the Los Angeles United Way Inc., the 28th largest charity "It's a pretty eclectic list."

The list ranks the 50 largest public charities by asset size. It includes foundations that solicit public donations, but excludes private foundations such as the J. Paul Getty Trust, which are funded by individual donors. (The list also excludes non-profit hospitals and educational institutions, which the Business Journal ranks separately.)

In some cases, the assets largely consist of endowments, while in others they represent real estate holdings or a combination. The organizations also differ in purpose: a few are largely grant makers such as the Community Foundation, which supports a variety of smaller agencies, while many rely on donations to run their own programs. Several, including the United Way and the Jewish Federation Council of Greater Los Angeles, are hybrids and do both.

The list only represents a fraction of the 6,400 public non-profits with annual revenues over $25,000 that are registered with the Internal Revenue Service to operate in Los Angeles County. The majority are run on shoestring budgets of less than $1 million.

"I think that non-profits matter, but often times the work we do is invisible," said Florence Green, executive director of the California Association of Nonprofits. "But the kind of work we do has a lot to do with what makes our communities livable."

Famous and obscure

On the list are 14 cultural institutions, 13 social service agencies, eight retirement operators, six medical care providers and three foundations. Many have a religious orientation, including Jewish institutions such as the Jewish Community Foundation of Los Angeles and several retirement home operators.

For reprint and licensing requests for this article, CLICK HERE.