Sponsored by Lane Powell

The fourth sector

| Print |  Email
Articles - May 2014
Monday, April 28, 2014

V. Cautionary tales

A key assumption behind impact investing and social ventures is that business and nonprofits can harness the power of the market for social benefit. From the nonprofit perspective, market-oriented initiatives can also help shore up a shaky business model. “The nonprofit model is  a very running-by-the-seat-of-your-pants proposition, because it does rely on charitable goodwill toward your mission,” says Jim White, executive director of the Nonprofit Association of Oregon. For years nonprofits have pursued so-called “earned revenue” strategies — setting up affiliated stores or cafes, for example — to help sustain operations, he says. But those efforts can go awry. The recent implosion of Evergreen International Airlines in McMinnville is a case in point. “Things got a little too blended,” White says. At issue was whether the company’s affiliated nonprofit enterprises, including the Evergreen Air and Space museum, deserved its property-tax exemption — especially since the museum’s water park is the star attraction. The Oregon Department of Justice also investigated possible mingling of funds between the for-profit aviation wing and the nonprofit entities, which is prohibited under Oregon law.

The legal restrictions on nonprofits complicate the evolution of blended models. Fueled by new technologies, such models could also pose a new threat to cash-strapped nonprofits. The rise of crowdfunding, for example, allows people to donate to private businesses as if they were a charitable organization. “What’s unique about these kinds of events is there is no return on investment,” White says. Instead, “people are looking at these businesses as a community asset.” He raises an intriguing question: In the future will nonprofits have to compete with social-enterprise startups for donor dollars?

Elements of the nonprofit sector “can’t and shouldn’t be monetized,” White says. “There are people economics leaves behind in our society; that’s the reality.” Looking ahead, he anticipates “confusion and probably court testing” around hybrid organizations. Despite the unknowns, the fourth sector holds powerful promise. As White observes: “It’s a fascinating topic.” 



 

More Articles

Modern design defines new Portland indoor market

The Latest
Thursday, June 25, 2015
thumbSnøhetta JBPM exterior www mir noBY KIM MOORE | RESEARCH EDITOR

An international architecture firm known for its design of the National September 11 Memorial Museum Pavilion in New York unveiled its plan this week for a modern indoor/outdoor food market at the foot of the Morrison Bridge in downtown Portland.


Read more...

Urban renewer

Linda Baker
Wednesday, June 24, 2015
UnknownBY LINDA BAKER   

One year after he was appointed chair of the Portland Development Commission, Tom Kelly talks about PDC's longevity, Neil Kelly's comeback and his new role as Portlandia's landlord.


Read more...

Fixing Oregon’s broken roads

The Latest
Tuesday, June 09, 2015
RUCCostComparison rev4-30BY KIM MOORE | RESEARCH EDITOR

The technology at the center of Oregon’s road usage fee reform.


Read more...

Undersea Power

June 2015
Friday, May 22, 2015
BY JACOB PALMER

Mike Morrow and Mike Delos-Reyes first came up with the idea of an ocean power device 23 years ago, when they were students at Oregon State University. They realized a long-held vision last summer, when their startup, M3 Wave, successfully launched the first ocean power device that works underwater.


Read more...

100 Best Green Workplaces in Oregon

June 2015
Friday, May 22, 2015
BY KIM MOORE

As momentum grows at the state level to introduce far-reaching environmental regulations, such as carbon pricing and the Clean Fuels Program, Oregon employers continue to go the extra mile to create green workplaces for their employees.


Read more...

Credit Unions Perspective

June 2015
Tuesday, May 26, 2015
BY KIM MOORE

A conversation with Gene Pelham, CEO of Rogue Credit Union.


Read more...

Eco Zoned

June 2015
Friday, May 22, 2015
BY HANNAH WALLACE

Travelers have always come to Oregon for its natural beauty. But will the increasing popularity of agritourism, European-style hiking getaways and forest resorts relax Oregon's notoriously strict land-use laws?


Read more...
Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02
SPONSORED LINKS