Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Double Bottom Line

Central Minnesota's business landscape is dotted with coffee shops, energy companies and second hand stores. All sell a product in the hopes of turning a profit. Now, some are also fueling nonprofit organizations with their proceeds.

Nationwide, foundation assets--one of the primary sources of funding for many nonprofits--fell by an unprecedented 17 percent in 2008. Although grantmaking has stabilized, the long-term impact and outlook seems uncertain.

As more organizations compete for less grant money and government funding becomes less reliable, a growing number of nonprofits are turning to social enterprise to ensure their organizations' fiscal health. In basic terms, a social enterprise model uses entrepreneurial, revenue-generating strategies for earned income. Those strategies and activities are directly tied to the nonprofit's mission.

In the current issue of IQ, Rachel Reabe Nystrom profiles three outstanding central Minnesota models of social enterprise: Wadena's The Cyber Cafe; the Common Goods thrift store operated by Brainerd's Bridges of Hope; and the Rural Renewable Energy Alliance in Pine River. 

Check out the full story here.

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