New structure better reflects the mission and vision of organization
SAINT PAUL, Minn., January 27, 2017 – The Improve Group has joined a new class of for-profit corporations in Minnesota that have pledged to pursue public benefits among their primary objectives. Public Benefit Corporations (PBCs) are Minnesota’s newest form of business, designed explicitly to benefit the public through the products they sell, resources they use, and charitable and volunteer contributions they make.
As a PBC, The Improve Group will be held accountable, by law, to articulate, measure, and report on its public benefits - something it has helped clients do for more than 15 years.
The change of incorporation is a reflection of The Improve Group’s mission, which is to help mission-driven organizations make the most of information, navigate complexity, and ensure their investments of time and money lead to meaningful, sustained impact. Last January, staff members used this mission to craft a new strategic plan focused on deliberately promoting positive social change through efforts such as:
- Contribute to changes in the fields of evaluation, research, and planning by making them more community-centered, inclusive and responsive.
- Help prepare the next generation of diverse, culturally-responsive evaluators.
- Provide tools and resources to communities so they have a greater voice in shaping the programs and policies that affect them and can envision social change, identify strategies for making change, and measure their success along the way.
- Collaborate with organizations focused on systems change and informing policies.
- Support organizations that are working toward equity and social justice by helping them deepen their understanding of communities and focus on the issues of greatest urgency.
In addition to becoming a PBC, The Improve Group has been at the forefront of supporting this new form of business. The Improve Group helped champion Minnesota’s new PBCs through its Benefit Corporation Cultivator Program, a collaboration of local organizations that teamed up to support this new class of Minnesota businesses. The collaboration includes The Improve Group, Fredrikson & Byron, and The Restore Collaborative. Jeff Ochs of Huli Consulting also provided important insights and guidance for the initiative. The Improve Group provided free social impact evaluation consulting services. Specifically, we helped the new PBCs define and articulate their specific public benefit, measure benefits and impact, and prepare to report results to the public. Fredrikson & Byron provided free legal support and The Restore Collaborative provided free use of their co-working space.
On April 24, 2014, the Minnesota legislature passed the Minnesota Public Benefit Corporation (PBC) Act. With this Act, Minnesota joined 26 states offering a new and specific statutory option to organize as a for-profit and socially minded businesses. By incorporating as a public benefit corporation, businesses obligate to pursue public benefits among their primary objective. The new law also provides more flexible uses of profits than just dividends to shareholders. Businesses were able to incorporate in Minnesota as a PBC beginning on January 1, 2015.
One of the key features of the Act is that a PBC must publish an Annual Benefit Report describing how and to what extent it pursued and created public benefit. Annual Benefit Reports must be filed with the Office of the Minnesota Secretary of State before April 1.
About The Improve Group
The Improve Group conducts rigorous studies to help organizations make the most of information, navigate complexity, and ensure their investments lead to meaningful, sustained impact. Based in St. Paul, Minnesota, The Improve Group provides research, evaluation, capacity-building, needs assessment, strategic planning, and policy and systems thinking for organizations locally, nationally, and internationally. More information at www.theimprovegroup.com