Stepping Up…Stepping Out

And the debate goes on in corporate America…

Can a corporation use the company’s revenue to finance humanitarian projects or ones that protect the environment?  Or, is this considered a misuse of profits that should be returned to the shareholders in the form of dividends or an increase in the value of their investment?  Who actually owns the funds that are invested in these projects?  If the business of business is business, the business of non-profits is community and the business of government organizations is governance, should we blur the lines?

Despite the multitude of opinions on the matter, the “reasons for being” of each type of entity are in fact becoming less distinct.  As we exit two decades of chaos in the business world, stock market and economy, the world of business has come face to face with the cold hard reality of both public distrust and the personal impact to the return on investment for its shareholders. And, the world of non-profit organizations has taken a serious financial hit thanks to a downturn in the economy reflected in a reduction in donor dollars and serious questions about their abilities to run their organizations efficiently.  Even more fundamental, is the clear realization that the efforts of the non-profit world are not gaining momentum, rather taking two steps backwards in the face of rising global and communal problems.  The citizen sector continues to demand transparency and solutions and the government sector is limited in its flexibility to move quickly as societal issues grow.  It is becoming apparent to all worlds that their relationships need to be symbiotic, there are mutual benefits if they can work together.