May 21, 2008

Choosing Between Nonprofit and For-Profit Status? Think B Corp

Don't miss Ilana DeBare's excellent article in the San Francisco Chronicle, "B corporation plan helps philanthropic firms." It profiles a new melding of for-profit and nonprofit status, in which a business explicitly adopts socially conscious goals -- in one case, donating all profits to charity -- and writes these goals into its founding legal documents. The originators of the concept call it a B corporation.

DeBare is careful to point out that, unlike C and S corporations, B corporations have no actual status under the tax code. And if you've researched the dividing lines between taxable and tax-exempt corporations, you know that the tax rules can get gnarly. But by banding together with a self-invented status, B corporations at least put the shareholders and would-be company buyers on notice that they're serious about serving other ends besides sheer profit.