Not-for-Profit Status

There are other competing organizations that provide these same types of services in COF’s three county service area. COF, however, is the only organization providing residential services and day program services in these three counties that operates as a not-for-profit organization. Most of the competing providers of targeted case management services are for-profit entities.

In the provision of social services of any type, especially to uniquely vulnerable populations such as people who are intellectually/developmentally disabled, the distinction between for-profit entities and not-for-profit entities is a particularly important distinction that should be given very serious consideration when choosing a provider of social services.   Unlike the capital market system that we are familiar with, an organization that provides services to people who are intellectually/developmentally disabled cannot raise the prices of the services it provides as costs go up. Virtually everything hinges upon controlling costs; capturing optimal efficiencies; achieving economies of scale; and soliciting contributions. The rate methodologies used to pay providers of services are dictated by the government. They are not a product of natural market forces.

While all not-for-profit entities must make some type of profit margin in order to successfully operate over a period of time, a not-for-profit does not exist for the purpose of making a profit.  All revenue has to be dedicated to the purpose for which the not-for-profit entity was formed. An independent, unpaid volunteer Board of Directors, by law, has to oversee how the funds are allocated.   The Board is legally accountable for diligent stewardship of the tax dollars that go towards the noble cause of supporting people who are intellectually/developmentally disabled.

We Are Adapting To Changes

Compounded and exacerbated by the converging market forces at hand, the market vacuum in which not-for-profit social services have been operating is no longer sustainable. There really is no other choice except for not-for-profit social service organizations to adapt.  At COF we have no illusions about the difficulties confronting us and other organizations like us. We have no illusions that we have all of “the answers.” What we do know is that we would rather contribute to the solution of the looming problems confronting us than continue to be a part of the problem by refusing to acknowledge the need to adapt . We know, too, that before answers can be found, the fundamental problem at hand has to be acknowledged; and the right questions need to be asked.