User Guide

Which Legal Structure is Right for my Social Enterprise? A Guide to Establishing a Social Enterprise in the United States

Morrison & Foerster and The Thomson Reuters Foundation

September 2019

Morrison & Foerster and The Thomson Reuters Foundation have partnered to produce “Which Legal Structure is Right for my Social Enterprise? A Guide to Establishing a Social Enterprise in the United States” intended to help social entrepreneurs navigate through the array of legal structures that are available for them in the United States.

The burgeoning field of social enterprise and the rise of impact investing have moved well beyond the dichotomy of for-profit and not-for-profit legal structures. For many social entrepreneurs, generating revenue (and sometimes profit) from their enterprises is a key driver, ensuring financial sustainability, generating returns for investors and avoiding the need to rely on charitable donations or grants. However, many such entrepreneurs also wish to pursue a mission outside of profit maximization, specifically focused on the promotion of non-monetary social, humanitarian and/or environmental goals. Finding the right organizational structure is a critical first step toward operating and growing a successful social enterprise that maximizes business opportunities and social goals

This Guide is an updated version of the 2016 Guide with new case studies and up to date legislation.

Read the full Guide to Establishing a Social Enterprise in the United States.

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