Kickstarter has taken a significant step in showing it is determined to continue their company with the values and mission it has had from beginning.
Kickstarter’s Mission Statement:
Our mission is to help bring creative projects to life.
To do this, Kickstarter had to kill part of itself off…. That is a dramatic way to put it, but it is true Kickstarter Inc no longer exists.
They have made a transition to a Public Benefit Corporation, making them a sort-of hybrid of a corporation and a non-profit.
What is a Public Benefit Corp?
A public-benefit corporation is a type of company that looks at accomplishing a greater good along with maximizing profit for shareholders. An incorporated company’s CEO (head person) can be fired if the shareholders feel they are not making the most profit possible. This is a scary idea for a company that is trying to put their values over greed.
Until recently, the idea of a for-profit company pursuing social good at the expense of shareholder value had no clear protection under U.S. corporate law, and certainly no mandate. Companies that believe there are more important goals than maximizing shareholder value have been at odds with the expectation that for-profit companies must exist ultimately for profit above all.
A Benefit Corporation allows companies to seek societal impact along with making money. Having a positive influence on a community is now a legal obligation of Kickstarter.
What this means for Kickstarter.com
Kickstarter’s transition to a Public Benefit Corporation doesn’t include any changes for us on the user end of the website. Instead, it means they will continue to help artists, inventors, and creatives fund projects for the world (or small communities) to enjoy.
From Kickstarter’s inception, we’ve focused on serving artists, creators, and audiences to help bring creative projects to life. Our new status as a Benefit Corporation hard-codes that mission at the deepest level possible to guide us, and future leaders of Kickstarter.
There is one change that Kickstarter has announced. Kickstarter proclaimed a commitment to donating 5% of their annual profits to arts education and organizations fighting inequality.
This promise is an extension of their values and commitment outlined in their Public Benefit Corporation.
Other notable Public Benefit Corp
Only .01% of all American businesses are Public Benefit Corporations. However, there are many you have heard of before.
If you would like to see Kickstarter’s values, goals, and commitments; that is all in their Public Benefit Corporation charter.