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Philanthropic Foundations Investing in For-Profits?

| Thursday April 28th, 2005 | 2 Comments

Google.gifThe Google Foundation is considering backing for-profit ventures that have a positive social impact, adding to the list of those who believe that doing good is a good investment. Ben Cohen, formerly of Ben & Jerry’s, does the same thing with his Barred Rock venture capital fund, as does the conspicuously reticent Omidyar Network; read the USA Today article here. (via Google alerts, go figure.)
Like the sound of of Google’s latest contribution to Not Being Evil? Apply to be the foundation’s Executive Director.


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  • http://www.thoughtsonthings.com Nick

    That’s a really interesting idea, I can’t imagine there are any rules against it…. does this make the foundation into a VC firm, or is it not allowed to profit from the invesment?

  • Elizabeth U

    Contrary to popular belief, non-profits CAN make a profit. However, in order to protect their non-profit status, there are rules regarding HOW the profit is made (must be related to the organization’s purpose) and profits have to be re-invested in the organization–or used for operations–rather than passed on to operators or directors.
    Nolo has a great article on the subject: http://www.nolo.com/article.cfm/objectID/FB682F05-ADA1-4B8A-ACC2830A855686DB/111/262/ART/