The First Nonprofit IPO?
Warren Buffett was the first investor in Homeward Bound of Marin’s recent IPO (Immediate Public Opportunity to End Homelessness, that is) and he’s got a share certificate to prove it!
This 30+ year old social service agency is offering 200,000 “fundraising” shares of $32 each in its The Next Key program, “an innovative employment training and housing facility that will empower formerly homeless individuals to realize their growth potential.” This program has got it all:
- It has a return on investment (32 units of affordable housing and accountability reports, among other less tangible things like “a long-term legacy of creating self-sufficient futures” in the community, and more feel-good things like the share certificate);
- It has two social business enterprises (both relating to catering and food production);
- It’s green (solar hot-water system, photovoltaic roof panels, etc.); and
- It’s got a plan for sustainability (the facility “has been planned to generate enough revenue to cover its operating costs when completed” - how’s that for careful wording?).
Go home, Blackstone. Your IPO may be worth $33 billion, but you’ve got nothing on this Immediate Public Opportunity
to end homelessness. We'll be watching to see if this example of better packaging of a worthy cause is the ticket for more and better funding.