How and Why One Company Chose to Organize As a 'B Corp' A B corporation designation can help back up a nonprofit's 'doing good' rep. Is it right for your social venture?
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Getting a B is usually considered only slightly better than average. For Better World Books CEO and co-founder David Murphy, a B is about as good as it gets. The Atlanta-based bookseller was one of the first to earn the B-corporation designation, which recognizes companies that use "the power of business to solve social and environmental problems."
Better World Books, a for-profit company that raises funds to support literacy programs, launched in South Bend, Ind., in 2002. The company was started after two University of Notre Dame grads raised $20,000--with $10,000 going to a community nonprofit--through a book drive. Their post-drive business plan went on to win Best Social Venture in a Notre Dame-sponsored competition. The judge? Murphy. He was so taken with the company idea and mission that he signed on to work with co-founders Chris "Kreece" Fuchs, Xavier Helgesen and newcomer Jeff Kurtzman. (Fuchs and Helgesen remain with the company; Kurtzman left in 2007.)
The 10-person launch team organized book drives at schools nationwide and beefed up online sales efforts through Amazon and on BetterWorldBooks.com. They also began working with libraries to resell books that would ordinarily be discarded, further benefitting nonprofits and keeping the used books out of landfills.