Wednesday, May 16, 2007

The FOURTH-Sector

The NY Times published a great article entitled Businesses Try to Make Money and Save the World on May 6th. I just got around to reading it and I am glad I did. We have some big Tobacconist University announcements coming up in the next few days, weeks, and months so this is an exciting time. With all of this activity, it can be difficult to get perspective on things. After ten years in development, we are now in the debut year for TU. I have no idea what I am doing, yet I know exactly what I have to do: or maybe it's the other way around. It sounds funny, but it feels true. To quote the article: "Companies like us have no conventional road map to follow in building our businesses and thus are greeted with a lot of skepticism".

The Fourth-Sector is "composed of organizations driven by both social purpose and financial promise that fall somewhere between traditional companies and charities. The term 'fourth sector' derives from the fact that participants are creating hybrid organizations distinct from those operating in the government, business and nonprofit sectors." In a sense, the Fourth-Sector is private companies with nonprofit missions! In my opinion, this is one of the most exciting socioeconomic opportunities of modern times. It is the highest form of capitalism because ideas and values carry more weight than money!!!

I am excited to see that we are part of a bigger trend. And frankly, I feel validated to not be the only one believing that viable companies can create social change and put principles before profits.

some other good quotes ...

"The social benefits that fourth-sector firms seek to unlock are not easily quantified and often take decades, not quarters, to attain."

"Investors, customers and consumers are developing a more holistic approach and focusing on the longer term..."

"Companies themselves are beginning to understand that what appears to be an expense today may in fact produce lucrative long-term benefits..."

" relationships between for-profit and nonprofit players are increasing..."

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