B-Corps, Giving Back

by Edward Henkler on May 12, 2015

I’m a big believer in giving back or its twin, paying it forward. It’s a frequent topic as you will see here and here. It pleases me to see how deeply ingrained it is in the millennials.

I’m not sure if I’m more aware of it or it’s becoming more ubiquitous but giving back seems to be appearing all over. I recently read The B Corp Handbook by Ryan Honeyman. I would recommend the book and its principles to any business owner that believes there’s more to success than just making money. Two quotes from the book follow that will give you a taste of the concept:

“B-Corp companies want to be the best for, not just, in the world.”

“We stand for something not against anything.” {might Congress learn something from that}

I also recently attended a presentation entitled “Save the World, Make Some Money — Funding Your Idea”. One of the panelists was a gentleman named Brian Linton. He is the Founder of United by Blue. This excerpt from their philosophy says it all: “We believe that as a for-profit business we have the power to help heal our oceans. By associating each product sold with the removal of one pound of trash from waterways, we unite our beliefs with our business. We do not write checks. We do not accept donations. We fulfill our pledge through company-organized and hosted cleanups.”

United by Blue

I’ll close with links to two articles that appeared in the 9-April-15 Philadelphia Inquirer:

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Doug Barg May 12, 2015 at 7:39 pm


Great piece! I agree that there appears to be a paradigm shift going on within the Millennial demographic. Locally, organizations like the Spruce Foundation and Young Involved Philadelphia are evidence of movement toward organized philanthropy and engagement among Millennials.

Entrepreneurs of that generation include outcomes other than pure profit in their business planning as a matter of course. It’s an encouraging development, but one that comes none too soon. Will this trend be extensive enough to counter the social and environmental crises on our doorstep? We can only hope … , encourage and facilitate.


Edward Henkler May 12, 2015 at 7:52 pm

Thanks, Doug! I think there will be many benefits to the shift in thinking, especially on the technology front. Whether it will be in time will probably vary by topic. Another interesting question, if you believe subsequent generations tend to “rebel” against the previous one, is whether the millennials’ children will revert back to more of our generation’s model. We might hope not but I bet it’s likely! I have another post coming out in several weeks about Mama Arlene, who was recently featured in the Philadelphia Inquirer. Her retirement has taken her to help the neediest children in Africa and she feels her best contributions have all come after retiring…interesting!


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