Without For-Profits There Would Be No Non-Profits

This morning someone posted a comment on Facebook that got me thinking about the relationship between Non-profit organizations and For-Profit organizations. I came to the conclusion that without for-profit organizations that create wealth, there would be nothing left for non-profits. For good to happen in our communities, there needs to be abundance, wealth, that will allow people to have something left over to help others. Even as I write this I think of the woman that gave two mites and how Jesus commended her because she gave all she had, while others gave from their abundance. But the fact is, because there is wealth there is something left over to help those who have need.

In 2012 President Obama stated that there was no such thing as the self-made person. “If you were successful, someone along the line gave you help. There was a great teacher somewhere in your life. Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive. Somebody invested in roads and bridges. If you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen.” Although I disagree with his premise, he did have a point that there is a relationship between the individual and collective that demonstrates the importance of wealth and care for the other. As John Donne once said, “No man is an island entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main.”

Just as the previous paragraph is true so is my point, without for-profit organizations there would be no non-profit ones, and as they say without margin there is no mission. This illustrates what I have thinking and writing about lately, wealth creation. As the Lausanne Movement states, “Wealth creation is not a Western or rich-world phenomenon. Many men and women are making a difference through businesses on all continents.”
According to Philanthropy Roundtable “of the $358 billion that Americans gave to charity in 2014, only 14% came from foundation grants, and 5% from corporations. The rest, 81%, came from individuals.” These individuals are both wealthy and not so wealthy. In the section “Giving by Income Level” the Roundtable states, “People with means, as you might expect, are substantial givers. Middle class Americans donate a little less. But the lower-income population surprises by giving more than the middle – and in some measures even more than the top (as a percentage of available income).” However, in “absolute dollars, those in higher income groups give much, much more money.”

Philanthropy Roundtable identifies the reason behind Americans giving more than any other industrialized nation is our religious back ground, “Religion motivates more than any other factor.” De Tocqueville, who wrote Democracy in America, also noted second reason for our giving, our tradition of mutual aid. But there is a third reason that relates to this blog. It is the “potent entrepreneurial impulse in the U.S. which generates overflowing wealth that can be shared.”

The Lausanne Movement, and BAM Global, has captured this spirit in their Wealth Manifesto. “Wealth creation is rooted in God the creator, who created a world that flourishes in abundance and diversity. We are created in God’s image, to co-create with Him and for Him, to create products and services for the common good. Wealth creation is a holy calling, and a God-give gift, which is commended in the Bible.” This is not what was recently called a prosperity doctrine, this is focused on the ability to be efficient, entrepreneurial, and self-responsible. Through my blog, I am focusing on this to identify how we can be stewards of what God has given us and called us to use.

I believe the reason people give to charity is because it is the right thing to do, but I also believe they give because it is their choice. It is a personal decision to help those who need help and help them weather the difficult times they are in. I think this is what Pope John Paul II was referring to in Sollicitudo Rei Socialis when he stated, “In place of creative initiative there appears passivity, dependence and submission to the bureaucratic apparatus which, as the only ordering and decision-making body – if not also the owner – of the entire totality of goods and the means of production, puts everyone in a position of almost absolute dependence. . . which provokes a sense of frustration and desperation. . .” He also states this is also an illustration of the exploitation of the worker-proletarian by the capitalist. However, his point is because we are free, and partakers of a system that can create wealth, we can choose to use that wealth for the common good, everyone is better off. His emphasis was our ability to choose.

Because we have free choice, own the means of production, and can benefit from the fruit of our labor, we are free to choose to share out of our abundance. This means that non-profits can thrive and help people who are in need. Thus without for-profits, wealth creation, there would be no non-profits.

And that is my thought for the day!


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