Social Entrepreneurism: The Tricky Balance Of Doing Good While Doing Well

Earlier this month, it bought KFTI, a 100,000-watt radio station at 92.3 on the FM dial from Journal Broadcast Group. At least some of the staff members will be blind or visually impaired.

It's all about the mission, Monteferrante said. Some entities, such as the services and the jobs for the blind and visually impaired, carry out that mission directly. Others, such as fundraising and operating for-profit businesses with nonvisually impaired workers, support the mission.

It's a big operation, $150 million to $160 million, and keeping the units separate but aligned is key.

"We are in business; we are in the business of employing blind people," Monteferrante said.

Sam Williams, the board's director, helped push the board in a more for-profit direction after the sequester. He said that nonprofits too often don't have a culture that encourages entrepreneurial thinking. They see only the need that must be met with every dollar available, he said.

Instead of spending every dollar they have every year trying to meet needs, nonprofits might look at holding some back to invest in starting businesses that will generate an income stream to support the mission.

The result, he said, will be more money available for the mission.

"The need is always greater than what they can supply," Williams said. "This will help, but it requires a lot of discipline."

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