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Jonathan Mariano headshot

Green Bay Packers Sell Stock as Nonprofit Community Organization

When we think of owning stock in an organization, we usually think of for-profit corporations.  Images of streaming ticker symbols and stock markets rising and falling come to mind.  In this case, we typically own stock so that we can (hopefully) make money. However, we have a unique opportunity to own stock in a nonprofit organization, the Green Bay Packers.  In this case, we own stock for other reasons besides making a profit.  How does ownership in this nonprofit stock work?  Isn’t nonprofit ownership an paradox? Not Your Ordinary Nonprofit or Football Team The Packers are the only team in the NFL (or any major sport) with the nonprofit community owned organization structure. Unless NFL rules change, no other new NFL team can be a nonprofit.  This particular nonprofit has won a record 13 championships, the most ever in NFL history including Super Bowl XLV earlier this year.  It’s amazing that a nonprofit community owned team can be so successful against other for profit teams. The Packers are hoping to raise $130 million dollars to renovate their home at Lambeau Field.  The team will be offering 250,000 shares at $250 a piece to help pay for part of the renovations.  You have to be a person to purchase a share.  (Spouses can be included as joint tenants.) No corporations or trusts will be allowed, you have to be a living, breathing, human being to be an owner. Can’t a billionaire just swoop in and by the entire lot? Purchasing stock, after all, is open to the general public.  To counter one person owning too much of the organization, no individual can own more than 200 total shares of the Packers. Not Your Ordinary Stock The Packers have only offered stock five times in their 92-year history.  But this is not your ordinary stock investment. Owning stock in the Packers is not what one would think of as an investment in the every day sense of the term “stock.”  The Packers website suggests, “Anyone considering the purchase of Packers stock should not purchase the stock to make a profit or to receive a dividend or tax deduction or any other economic benefits.” This is a stock you are restricted from transferring to another person or entity.  If you can’t transfer it, you can’t sell it.  If you can’t sell it, you can’t make a profit.  If you can’t make a profit, why would you want to buy stock in the first place? Not Your Ordinary “Profit” One would think that owning nonprofit stock is a paradox.  However, owning something, is more than just about profit.  It’s about pride of ownership.  It’s about doing something for a purpose.  It’s about psychic profit. There are countless reasons to buy a “worthless” stock in a national football nonprofit organization.  Ask the 100,000 current stockholders of the Packers.  The new offering begins today December 6, 2011 at 8 a.m. CST and will continue until Feb. 29, 2012, subject to extension. As a side note, apply the same type of motivation for buying "worthless" stock to other nonprofit or social ventures.  There may be keen insight in the Packers organizational nonprofit structure for the benefit of the people and the planet. What do you think?  Is it worthwhile to purchase a stock that is not profitable in the everyday sense?  Can this form of nonprofit be successful in other sectors of the economy?
Jonathan Mariano headshotJonathan Mariano

Jonathan Mariano is an MBA candidate with the Presidio Graduate School in San Francisco, CA. His interests include the convergence between lean & green and pursuing free-market based sustainable solutions.

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