Emergent Nonprofits in an Emerging Economy

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One of the articles we published last week is about an “unlikely takeover” of a failing network of for-profit child care centers in Australia—the largest provider of child care in the nation. I think it is an important story, because it is an indicator of what may very well be a wave of “sector seeking” endeavors around the world, and I am hopeful that this wave will make our discussions of the civil sector sharper and clearer.
As the article describes, the large for-profit provider fell into bankruptcy and was subsequently bought by a consortium of nonprofits. While this is certainly unusual, the author cites research indicating that nonprofits in some fields provide relatively consistently better outcomes, for lower cost, than parallel for-profits—and, arguably, education is one of them.

The story of the takeover is fascinating in and of itself, but even more fascinating is what it reveals about a possible future trend of our thinking more carefully about what kinds of enterprises are best served by a profit-motive bottom line and what kinds are not—and with that conversation supported by research.
Let us know what you think about the article! And I would love to see further research comparing the outcomes and cost of programs between the two sectors—so please send along citations.