Nonprofit ‘IPO’ raises $700,000

The first nonprofit “IPO,” created to resemble the initial public offerings public companies use to raise money, has brought in $700,000 for an affordable-housing center.

Launched a year ago with help from billionaire-investor Warren Buffett, the effort sells “fundraising” shares, priced at $32 each, with proceeds going to Homeward Bound of Marin.

The nonprofit is using the funds to finance The Next Key Center, an affordable-housing and job-training center in Novato, Calif.

The effort, marketed as an “Immediate Public Opportunity … to end homelessness,” sold shares to celebrities, local residents and area groups, including the Novato Girl Scout Troop.

“The IPO has succeeded beyond our dreams in offering people a way to take stock in programs that provide long-term solutions to homelessness,” Mary Kay Sweeney, executive director of Homeward Bound, says in a statement.

The effort also helped leverage funding from other sources, says Sweeney, including the Federal Home Loan Bank of San Francisco, which provided a grant of $1 million.

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