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Seeing Business and Community as One
Seeing Business and Community as One How B Corporations can Benefit the Economy
By Randi Payton
Multimedia company Decisive Media has always considered business as a venue to aid communities and the disadvantaged youth. In 1998, it launched Emerging Diversity Education Fund or EDEF, a non-profit organization that has raised $500,000 in scholarships and trained over 300 young people.
Decisive also assisted multicultural consumers in the automotive industry by releasing national automotive magazines to educate and introduce industry career opportunities. Plus, Decisive established the annual Urban Wheel Awards together with the North American International Auto Show, known as America's largest revenue event, to benefit its non-profit endeavor.
However, juggling both profit and non-profit ventures became a challenge. Most auto companies that attended and sponsored the multicultural awards found it difficult to distinguish between the profit and non-profit and raising funds to support the mission of helping communities.
That is until Decisive Media learned about the new State laws authorizing businesses to become classified as Beneficial Corporations.
Decisive Media registered Benefit Media in the state of Maryland to merge both its business and non-profit mission. This move allows the company to promote its services and to create jobs while upholding its social mission.
Maryland, the first state to enact the Beneficial Corporation legislation, has more than 500,000 businesses but only a few are aware of Beneficial Corp's advantages for their own businesses and the impact they can have on the environment and the economy.
Registering with the state as a Beneficial Corporation requires a business to create a material positive impact on society and the environment, according to B Lab, a non-profit body that provides certification to companies that have registered as Beneficial Corporations. This act encourages transformation in the community and at the same time, can help increase the revenue of the business by promoting its social and environmental involvement.
According to its web site, the B Lab was established to "to suit the needs of entrepreneurs and investors who want to make a better world through business." BCorporation.net adds, "This new class of corporation has a goal of creating a public benefit, a broader fiduciary duty and is transparent about its overall social and environmental performance."
Benefit Corporations already exist in states such as Vermont, New Jersey, Maryland, Hawaii, Virginia, California, and New York. But the legislation has yet to be passed in North Carolina, Washington, D.C., Pennsylvania, and Michigan. The bill's ratification can aid thriving companies in these states by establishing environmental and social projects that benefit communities and localities.
Mission-based for-profit company, Benefit Media, together with universities and colleges in Michigan, Maryland, and Washington D.C., plan to train and recruit Veterans and young people for the operation of various events, websites, and consumer media publications under the new structure. This task aims to aid consumers in making the right decision about services and products and to promote diversity in corporate America through event planning services and media.
A social mission is considered an effective recruiting and marketing tool. A new breed of investors targets for-profit businesses with a social mission as it supports small businesses. The Obama Administration is also taking part with its Startup America Initiative, allocating $1 billion for an impact investment fund.
In order to benefit the investors, social entrepreneurs of for-profit businesses must consider not just the financial aspect but the impact of its social mission as well.
Benefit Media will pay corporate income tax similar to other businesses. But unlike for-profit companies, it is required to have an impact on the society. Though tax-deductible donations cannot be given to a Beneficial company, through the establish of its Beneficial arm, Decisive Media remains true to its goal of helping consumers and creating jobs while giving investors a substantial return. Consumers can support Benefit Media and stay informed by registering at www.decisivemagazine.com for subscriptions to its publications and weekly newsletters.
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