We all enjoy those moments when, to our surprise, something fits perfectly. Even the little things can bring pleasure – a new pair of jeans, Maytag blue cheese with a glass of Pinot Noir, the hilarious birthday card for a (much) older brother. But every once in a great while the perfect fit involves something bigger.
Such is the case with converting Equity Schools, Inc. into a “benefit corporation.” For anyone unfamiliar with the term, a benefit corporation is a recently invented corporate form. This allows a business to state in its corporate articles that pursuing social good is central to its existence.
This is different from the old standard where maximizing shareholder value holds primacy. While benefit corporations still operate to make money, they are not obligated to do so at the expense of social good. This means treating employees fairly and actively working to benefit society; whether or not that generates the greatest financial return.
A Perfect Fit
When we first learned about benefit corporations, the fit was inescapable. For 18 years (long before benefit corporations existed), we have pursued social good, through client work and pro bono efforts.
From our perspective, the benefit corporation idea just came along to fit who we already are. Converting Equity Schools to become a benefit corporation amounted to some paperwork, which we take seriously, but we did not have to change anything about what we do. (See our “In the Works” post: What’s the Point? Crafting a Mission Statement?)
As we said in that post, we will continue to develop Nonlinear funding solutions to support people and organizations dedicated to “freedom in all its forms, and to health, a safe home, food security, quality education, opportunities for productivity, and a sustainable environment.”
But now (and you can confirm this with the Illinois Secretary of State), we are an official benefit corporation.
A perfect fit for us.