For-Benefit Organizations

There’s a real resonance between many of my latent thoughts on humane business organization and the Tutor’s quest to foster “a life well-lived.” Witness the output generated in 12 hours of full-time blogging yesterday. Today, he points to the Fourth Sector Network, grouping organizations into “for-benefit” class of business.
Quote: “For-Benefits are a new class of organization. They are driven by a social purpose, they are economically self-sustaining, and they seek to internalize their social costs by being socially, ethically, and environmentally responsible.
Like non-profits, For-Benefits can organize in pursuit of a wide range of social missions. Like for-profits, For-Benefits can generate a broad range of beneficial produc ts and services that improve quality of life for consumers, create jobs, and contribute to the economy. For-Benefits seek to maximize benefit to all stakeholders, and 100% of the economic “profits” they generate are invested to advance social purposes. Because of their architecture, For-Benefits can embody some of the best attributes of other organizational forms. They strive to be democratic, inclusive, open, transparent, accountable, effective, efficient, cooperative, and holistic.
For-Benefits represent a new paradigm in organizational design. At all levels, they aim to link two concepts which are held as a false dichotomy in other models: private interest and public benefit.”
Their taxonomy includes co-ops, esops, socially-responsible investing, open source, and the whole cultural creative/LOHAS market.
This is a great lens to view the emergence. I do hope, however, that we can soon move beyond defining ourselves and get to work. Granted, some of this delay is caused by all of us just now waking up that we are not alone, that in fact we may be a silent majority, and that many of our friends, neighbors and colleagues might choose this path if they felt safe enough to do so. Having a big mortgage and a local community reputation to maintain can keep a status quo employed for a whole lifetime.
There’s an election cycle coming up, if we need a deadline.