Philanthropic Foundations Investing in For-Profits?

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.

2 responses

  1. 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?

  2. 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:

Leave a Reply