Looks like Bill Gates is about to boost a new type of not-only-for-profit into the limelight.
Here’s the story: The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation recently announced it’s going to use a philanthropic vehicle called program-related investments� (PRI) through the creation of� a $400 million fund.� PRIs, new and largely unused, are investments that also allow a philanthropy to achieve its charitable mission.
The other part of the story is about L3Cs. This is a type of� “low-profit” LLC that has a charitable mission. It also qualifies as a PRI for foundations.� (The IRS hasn’t yet officially provided an opinion on the tax consequences, although it may do so soon).� I recently wrote about an ambitious new news site in Chicago that’s becoming an L3C.
What’s it all mean? If Bill Gates is giving his blessing to PRIs, he is also, by extension, doing the same for L3Cs. And that could mean that 2010 will become the year when L3Cs really start humming