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What makes a not-for-profit senior living community different?

While shopping for a senior living community, it is common to consider the layout of the residence, the taste of the food and the friendliness of the staff as well as the financial requirements and availability of ongoing care.

But what about the operational status of the organization? A community operating with a for-profit business model vs. a not-for-profit business model can make a significant difference in the overall operation and culture of the organization.

Five major differences are worth exploring to understand the contrast better.

1. Faith-based; mission-driven

As a not-for-profit organization, there is one governing philosophy to which all operational decisions must align- the mission! At Presbyterian Manors of Mid-America, our mission is to provide quality senior services guided by Christian values. We carry a culture that makes all decisions by wearing two lenses, one is quality, and the other is Christian values. All things must measure up to those standards.

2. Continuous ownership 

A popular avenue through which for-profit organizations gain revenue in senior living is acquisition and resale. In fact, it is common to see ownership change every five years or so. However, this growth model is simply a grab at revenue which makes it a rarity in the not-for-profit sector. Enjoying the consistency of continuous ownership can be a huge plus!

3. Oversight is provided by a volunteer board of trustees

Who is at the helm of an organization? The shareholders? The CEO? The Board? In a for-profit business, many decisions are based on what will be pleasing to the shareholders. Compare that to the way a not-for-profit is managed. A volunteer board of trustees is holding the organization and its leadership accountable to the mission and the best interests of the residents. The fact that this group of highly-qualified individuals serves in a volunteer capacity means that there are no alternative motives outside of the mission. This means that residents are always the priority.

4. Net revenue is reinvested back into the community 

Just because Presbyterian Manor is a not-for-profit company doesn’t mean the organization never makes money. The real difference is how that income is managed. Naturally, in a for-profit, revenue goes to serve the shareholders. Conversely, there are no shareholders for a not-for-profit; therefore, all net revenues go back into the community to improve the quality of life for the residents.

5. Good Samaritan Program — supported by philanthropy

One of the number one fears of American seniors is running out of money. In more than 68 years of serving seniors, Presbyterian Manors of Mid-America has stood in that financial gap for those who no longer had the resources to pay for their cost of living in the community. The Good Samaritan Program is supported by philanthropic efforts to ensure residents always have a secure future.

Choosing a senior living community is a complex decision with many variables. As you go through the process remember to ask these questions:

1. What is the mission of this organization and how is it implemented each day?

2. Who owns this community and for how long?

3. Who is in charge? (Shareholders? Volunteer board?)

4. What happens to net revenues? 

5. What would happen to me if I ran out of money?

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