When employees believe in their company’s cause, they can do great things, says Helbling. Corp.", "P.B.C." Board members agreed with the investors: “If we bring this to U.S. markets, we could be making a lot more money,” Most recalls. While most people are familiar with Corporations and LLCs, and some are familiar with the alphabet soup of other entity types (LLP, LLLC, LLLP, PLLC), the newest kid on the block is the Public Benefit Corporation (or PBC). Public Benefit Corporations (DE) This Practice Note provides an overview of public benefit corporations organized in Delaware. Social by Sourcing are companies making an impact by sourcing responsibly—employing members of marginalized communities or even paying a responsible living (higher than market rate) wage to their employees. Minnesota examples: Finnegans Brew Co., Sunrise Banks Social by Selling are corporations that sell services or products that benefit specific underserved communities. “They’ll see through a mission that isn’t really a mission. Most entities (Corporations, LLC’s, etc) are managed by Directors (or managers) who are elected by the Shareholders (or ownership). Minnesota examples: Software for Good, Binary Bridge, the Data Bank. It uses recycled paper and renewable energy and gives food scraps to a local farmer. These companies prioritize donating money and volunteerism. “When Samsung happened, I knew I didn’t want to change who we were or what we did,” she says. As a public benefit corporation, Binary Bridge is accustomed to transparently and intentionally balancing the traditional profit-turning corporate mission with a desire to make a difference. Software for Good also designed the app for Minneapolis’ Pride Month. “They’re all applying for grants from the same places, and it’s just not always the best approach.”, It’s an especially convincing argument coming from Most. Additionally, many of the state’s public benefit corporations file annual mission and progress reports with the Office of the Minnesota Secretary of State that are available for online review (sos.state.mn.us, search “public benefit”). “I believe people are altruistic and care about each other, but they’ve compartmentalized their altruism,” he says. Maryland was the first state to adopt the PBC Legislation in October, 2010. When the Minnesota Public Benefit Corporation Act was passed in 2014, it was called an overlay of the traditional corporation model. There is a distinction between a Public Benefit Corporation (PBC) and a B Corp. Social by Selling are corporations that sell services or products that benefit specific underserved communities. Keep on top of jurisdictional closings due to COVID-19. A public benefit corporation is a corporation created to generate social and public good, and to operate in a responsible and sustainable manner.. Consider this mission when making decisions (note, this doesn’t mean they need to. A public benefit corporation created by a government, also known as a statutory corporation or government owned corporations, generally provide free or subsidized services or benefits for the public. Start your research on a company’s website. One of the best examples of social impact through financial success is Finnegans Brew Co., the longtime beer maker that opened its downtown Minneapolis megabrewery in 2018. On February 1, 2017, Laurate Education, Inc was the first Public Benefit Corporation to be public traded. Two investment firms had contacted her about BackpackEMR, an electronic medical record system that she built specifically for medical outposts in rural communities in Peru and Kenya. If throwing the money you have left at the end of the month at a charity feels like putting a Band-Aid on a gaping wound, why not add “working to solve your community’s systemic problems” to your job description? His own nonprofit provides loans for social entrepreneurs, including Binary Bridge. And both believe they do more for their core missions as for-profit companies than as nonprofits. The consumer will have to hold companies accountable. But the King Arthur Flour Company is different from its major competitors, and not just because of its baking qualities. Stay up to date on industry news affecting your business. Social by Sharing are businesses that give money or resources away. She explains how much of her time during those initial years was spent chasing money: “We had had to go look for funding. Yes, benefit corporations could be another tool for greenwashing [deceptive PR], but that’s not the case for most of these businesses.”. We live in an innovative place, and you can always change how you do business.”. The public benefit corporation must be intended to produce a public benefit and to operate in a responsible and sustainable manner. “What it means is that directors and officers of a corporation are required by the statute to consider both purposes,” he says. Minnesota examples: Peace Coffee, Fair Anita, Profit and social impact both come first for these Minnesota public benefit corporations—which aren’t nonprofits, but aren’t typical for-profits, either, These Minnesota Businesses Bring Together Profit and Public Good, Mall of America/Bloomington Visitors Guide, Official Visitors Guide to the Twin Cities, Minnesota was named the most charitable state by WalletHub, The magic of Santa’s Wonderland continues in-person at Cabela’s Shops featuring FREE photos with Santa, Emanuela Duca Pop-Up Jewelry Trunk Show at Max’s, Christmas on Copper Street: Home for the Holidays – Streaming Event. “There’s authenticity with what we do,” says Berglund, “I think people see that. Additionally, the benefit corporation may contain within its articles a specific purpose (such as to further the arts, improve public health, etc. “That’s where public opinion, consumer education, and boycotting come in. For workers who want to do good and pay their bills, a benefit corporation job is an increasingly attractive career move. Nationally, “benevolent businesses” like Patagonia, Seventh Generation, and Kickstarter are taking extra steps to hold themselves to high standards. Adopt a third-party standard. A Public Benefit Corporation makes it permissible for corporate directors and officers, acting within their fiduciary duties, to act morally, ethically and responsibly in regard to society, the environment, the natural world and the world at large. Finnegans has donated over $1 million to alleviating hunger since its founding in 2000, while Binary Bridge has served more than 60,000 people at dozens of remote medical outposts across the globe. “Nobody should be saying that benefit corporations are good and traditional corporations are bad.”. Some famous benefit corporations are: Kickstarter; Method; Plum Organics; Patagonia Please consult with your attorney for legal advice or accountant for tax and financial advice. “We’re making it easier to navigate complex systems so [people] can better plan for their future.”, So, why are benefit corporations gaining momentum now? Another investor told Most she could make a fortune by implementing the peer-to-peer feature in media and filmmaking. In Colorado, a Public Benefit Corporation is organized as a for-profit corporation or domestic cooperative. He said, “Oh, you’re never going to make money this way. The B Corp. differs for the SP Corp., in that the definition of a “general public benefit,” is defined as a “material, positive effect on society and the environment, taken as a whole, as assessed using a third-party standard by which is attributable to the business and operations of a benefit corporation.” § 607.602(5), Florida Statutes. You need to pivot.”, She wasn’t even slightly tempted. Likewise. This was one of our top reasons. A few years ago, Lori Most, the CEO and founder of Minneapolis-based Binary Bridge, found herself in a difficult position. The PBC generally refers to a company organized under a states existing Public Benefit Corporation statutes. Jacquie Berglund, Finnegans’ CEO and co-founder, was one of the first locally to evangelize this business model. “Your corporate mission is whatever you say it is. Ben. She has worked with benefit corporations in the past and penned an op-ed about the legal structure for Star Tribune. A purpose-oriented work environment makes employees 54 percent more likely to stay at a company for 5-plus years, and they’re 30 percent more likely to be high achieving employees, according to research by Imperative (a certified B Corp in Seattle). Smithsonian Institute 7. BackpackEMR’s peer-to-peer technology enables users to update medical records without an internet connection—making it essential in some of the world’s poorest places. Best Friends Animal Society 11. B Lab just announced the 2014 B Corp Best for the World List with the 92 top-rated certified B corporations. Ted Talks 8. Public benefit corporations (PBCs) were created to bridge this gap. In our new charter (shown below) we spell out our mission, our values, and the commitments we have made to pursue them. The B Corp is a certification conferred by a third  party “B Labs” for a corporation that adheres to higher standards of serving the public good. Should not be construed as legal or financial advice. Fast Facts about Public Benefit Corporation: This post is for informational purposes only. ), but it is not required to do so. If the Directors make decisions that are not in the financial interest of the ownership, the Directors may expose themselves to legal action by the ownership. This new entity is catching on fast in different states, and serves to fill a unique niche in the suite of entities. World Wildlife Fund 9. Whether you’re just starting out or have a complex project, we’re here to help you navigate the process with ease. by Cydney Posner. The list below is B Lab's best effort to create an accurate accounting of benefit corps and is inclusive of all data collated by B Lab from state agency reports. Other states may call these "benefit corporations." Public Benefit Corporations: A corporation organized primarily or exclusively for charitable purposes and which plans to obtain state tax exempt status under California Revenue and Taxation Code section 23701d and/or federal tax exempt status under Internal Revenue Code section 501(c)(3) is a nonprofit Public Benefit corporation. (A benefit corporation filing makes it more difficult for shareholders to sue.) This new entity is catching on fast in different states, and serves to fill a unique niche in the suite of entities. 501c: Many nonprofits, such as public benefit nonprofit corporations, can apply to be categorized as a 501c3 nonprofit with the IRS. “I think consumers and employees are pretty savvy,” says Duniway. While most people are familiar with Corporations and LLCs, and some are familiar with the alphabet soup of other entity types (LLP, LLLC, LLLP, PLLC), the newest kid on the block is the Public Benefit Corporation (or PBC). A “public benefit” is a positive effect (or a reduction of a negative effect) on one or more categories of persons, entities, communities or interests (other than shareholders in their capacities as shareholders), including effects of an artistic, charitable, cultural, economic, educational, environmental, literary, medical, religious, scientific or technological nature. These Shareholders entrust the Directors to act in their interests; in the past the courts have defined shareholder interest as profit maximizing – Director decisions should be purely financial decisions. Patagonia is an example of a corporation that sought the PBC structure. Finnegans donates 100 percent of its profits, as well as financial and food donations, to food bank partners, to supply food shelves with fresh produce and feed families across the Upper Midwest. That’s fine, they just have to say it,” explains Sarah Duniway, principal at local corporate law firm Gray Plant Mooty. Myth 1: Public Benefit Corporations and Certified B Corps are the same. A benefit corporation differs from a typical for-profit corporation by allowing the entity to consider how it can provide a greater good for the public, otherwise known as a public benefit. These companies prioritize donating money and volunteerism. Humane Society of the United States 5. Include a statement in the articles of incorporation or organization that says the corporation or LLC is a benefit company subject to ORS 60.750 - ORS 60.770 . Beneath all the talk of values and benefitting society, benefit corporations are hinged upon the belief that making money and making an impact are aligned, not contradictory. “Nonprofits are really difficult,” says Most. Public benefit corporations generally fall under the 501c3 status because of the charitable purpose behind the nonprofit. Casey Helbling, the CEO and founder of Software for Good, jokes that they want their business to “disrupt” the normal flow of money. “I was like, ‘You’re completely missing my point.’”. It highlights the special provisions that apply to this type of corporation, including how public benefit is defined, duties of directors, notice and reporting requirements, and the conversion process. The entity’s name can include the words "public benefit corporation" or the abbreviations "Pub. Patagonia long wanted support issues around social and environmental causes, but had difficulty balancing this mission with retaining a Corporate status. King Arthur sponsors school education programs and donates substantial sums to programs that combat hunger. We will deliver a benefit statement annually that will measure the results of our efforts to promote these public benefits. A B Corp is not necessarily a PBC, and a PBC is not necessarily a B Corp. Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation On a smaller, more local level, home owners associations and little leagues can also be non-profit organizations. Some examples of successful non-profit corporations are: 1. Almost nine in 10 millennials said they would work for less pay if it meant their company’s values aligned with their own, according to a 2018 LinkedIn report. As previously discussed on this blog, a few companies have gone public as “Certified B Corporations,” but now we apparently have the first company to file for its IPO as an actual Delaware “public benefit corporation” (PBC). Helbling’s theory has to do with growing awareness. However, in the case of a PBC (and, more recently, the Public Benefit LLC), an entity can file as a PBC and explicitly state in their operating agreement some other corporate goal, outside of simply maximizing profit. King Arthur is 100 percent owned by its employees, who share in profits and receive 40 hours of paid volunteer time each year. Prepare an annual benefit report identifying: The actions and methods used to provide a general or specific public benefit. Sierra Club 4. Form a Public Benefit Corporation Now. They make a product or service … For example, Twin Cities-based Sunrise Banks posts annual impact reports online. Minnesota is one of 35 states to adopt a benefit corporation statute, and it makes sense in a state where philanthropy and culture have historically gone hand in hand. When a company becomes a Benefit Corporation, it can choose to make further commitments. “We need to find a different solution.”. A nonprofit public benefit corporation refers to a charitable organization that is advantageous to the general public, meaning that anybody can benefit from its actions. We’ve been going on 18 years and there have been some very lean times, and now people seem happy to support us because they know what we’ve done.”, Lori Most echoes Berglund’s beliefs that a good business will lead to larger social impact. She had liked the work, but wasn’t intrinsically motivated to generate high returns for shareholders. “You can totally change the model. In a benefit corporation, the obligations of the directors are described the same but – and this is the key distinction – in the benefit corporation, there are multiple purposes including (at least) a general public purposes (and possibly, one or more specific public purposes). Ability to put money second to what matters. Many states do not currently track the names or number of benefit corporations. for ages, and the younger generations are really seeing that you can have both a good job and a meaningful role in the community.”, In practice, Software for Good’s social impact is in web-based apps. “We’re doing what TurboTax did for taxes and Airbnb did for hospitality, but we’re doing it for Section 8 housing,” explains Liz Tupper, director of product strategy. Be the first to know about legal updates that may impact your service work, as well as jurisdictional and Incserv office closings. For a more complete list, see a list of New York State public-benefit corporations Binary Bridge was formed initially as a 501(c)3 back in 2015 but reformed as an LLC in 2016, then as a benefit corporation in 2018. Public Benefit Corporations or “PBCs” are a type of for-profit corporate entity currently authorized by 35 states and the District of Columbia, similar to a C-corp, S-corp, or LLC. Museum of Modern Art 2. (In 2018, Minnesota was named the most charitable state by WalletHub.). “That’s been the M.O. They make a product or service that is designed specifically for a particular need. So, how does one determine if a benefit corporation is truly doing good work? In other words: to not just make rich white men richer. “Why someone adopts a public benefit forum is because it’s what gets them up in the morning and it’s not always because of profits,” says Jeff Ochs, CEO at Venn Foundation in St. Paul. We didn’t get in the … Human Rights Campaign 3. Social by Sharing are businesses that give money or resources away. However, there are there are thirty-four different categories. It could be really general. Within five years of this adoption, 31 other states passed legislation created PBC (each state with its own unique variation). “There’s no way we can use charitable assets to undo the things businesses have done,” says Ochs. The corporatio… “A lot of people say it’s good enough to make my money here and then I’ll donate there, but that idea is beginning to fade.”, One need only read today’s headlines to find examples of for-profit businesses detrimentally impacting culture, the environment, and employees. In the past four years, more than 80 public benefit corporations have formed or adopted public benefit status in Minnesota—including Finnegans Brew Co. and Can Can Wonderland—underscoring a growing entrepreneurial interest in social impact. What is a Delaware Public Benefit Corporation? This gives the Directors cover to make decisions that serve some “public benefit” as defined in the operating agreement, rather than only looking at profit maximization. And the model is working. For other requirements, see the Public Benefit Corporation Act of Colorado … “The answer is, maybe so,” says Ochs. At this point, it’s not the government’s job.”. Minnesota examples: Finnegans Brew Co., Sunrise Banks. It’s believing that making a profit will directly benefit their social mission in the long run, while inspiring employees and activating consumers along the way. For an annual fee (based upon yearly sales), public benefit corporations can complete nonprofit B Lab’s detailed assessment of “social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability” to become certified B Corporations, or “B Corps.” There are currently 16 Minnesota companies, including Peace Coffee and Sunrise Banks, listed as B Lab’s certified B Corps (learn more at bcorporation.net). Search below to locate the known benefit corporations in any of the preceeding states. PBS 10. ... (The company also became a Benefit Corporation last year). ©2020 Incorporating Services, Ltd.|Privacy Policy & Terms, [jetpack_subscription_form title="" subscribe_text="" subscribe_button="Sign Me Up"], Additional Products & Services Order Form, Apostille, Authentication & Legalization. One app called HousingLink is designed to help people locate and apply for affordable housing in their city. Many entrepreneurs treat the decision to become a PBC and a Certified B Corp as one and the same. A PBC is a for-profit institution that provides some sort of benefit to the environment or public. Their stated public benefit is to “produce a positive effect for society and students by offering diverse education programs both online and from campuses around the globe.”. One investor asked if she had considered offering this tech to aid American hospitals, in cases of power outages or system failures. A benefit corporation is responsible for creating an annual benefit report, which Subtitle 6C(8)(A) requires must include: A description of the way the benefit corporation pursued a general public benefit during the year and the extent to which the general public benefit was created; Skeptics of this model point to the potential for diminished shareholder returns. The EFC is a public benefit corporation created in 1970 to promote environmental quality by providing low-cost financing and technical assistance to municipalities, businesses, and state agencies for environmental projects in New York State. Marc Andreessen, Netscape founder and venture capitalist, infamously compared the dual-motivation business structure to a houseboat: “It’s not a great house and not a great boat.”, Jeff Ochs puts it a little differently. Designed to expand the duties of directors, benefit corporations are identical to traditional corporations in every way except one: they have publicly committed to a broadly defined “social purpose” beyond just making money. For the latest news and events about the community of Certified B Corporations In January, 2012, Patagonia became the first company in California to file as a PBC. 3. Tupper recalls how she once worked for a company that was purchased by Samsung. Governmental Public Benefit Corporations. A benefit corporation is a Virginia stock corporation whose articles of incorporation provide that it is a benefit corporation and that has, as one of its purposes, the purpose of creating a general public benefit on society and/or the environment. American Civil Liberties Union 12. All of that time we could have spent developing software we spent instead finding and writing grants.”. Could a company tout a flimsy social purpose to produce advantageous marketing? 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