Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Nonprofits and the Entrepreneurial Spirit

Get Your Loaves, Get Your Fishes!

There is a sense in the economic situation that we have that if what the mission is is important in itself, the market will create it and support it with profits. On the other hand, if it is necessary but not market supported, then there is a void that the government should step in and fill (so called public goods). That leaves people in the third sector struggling for funding, and in doing so just justifying their existence. 

That I would rather not work in a place whose sole mission was the creation of surplus value for the owners is not a knock on me, but it has left me in a place where I thought that I could do other things. The problem is that the economic system is such that money is needed to support myself and the mission of the organizations I have worked for. At Saint Rita, that money came from tuition, and at CSS that money comes from the government. In fact, where CSS is at makes us more or less an arm of the government.

My worry is how you create something that exists that is important to the community but doesn’t have the profit motive behind it or has some sort of service that can be billed, either to parents or the government. I was just thinking earlier about how I could go about starting something to start a nonprofit here in Brookfield supporting the arts like poetry and theater. Who would I call? It makes me think of a conversation I had with a friend about a week ago. She was thinking about buying a property to house a Montessori school in and give the services to the community for free in back home in West Virginia. I talked to her, but I know more about the continuation of the nonprofit that has the infrastructure in place. Starting one seems to me to need even more entrepreneurial spirit that starting a business.