Boosting nonprofit enterprise – Foundations promote self-sufficiency

Foundations that once simply handed out funds to nonprofits are beginning to encourage them to be entrepreneurial, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reported on June 9.

Once the antithesis of the private sector, the nonprofit world is taking lessons from venture capitalists – learning about business skills and creative risk-taking.

“The nonprofit community has realized how important it is to be competitive, fiscally responsible and businesslike,” said Patricia Rambasek, director of development for the National Aviary in Pittsburgh.

For example, the aviary is turning a profit on a $75,000 donation from the Buhl Foundation to restore its rose garden by renting the garden for special events.

“The nonprofit sector is caught up in the burst of energy and creativity we’re seeing in this community, Doreen Boyce, president of the Buhl Foundation, said.

Program-related investments are an increasingly popular form of entrepreneurial philanthropy. Such investments are paid back if the nonprofit turns a profit on the investment. If not, the money becomes a grant that does not have to be repaid.

For a full text of the article, go to the Tribune-Review.

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