Monday, November 30, 2015

Nonprofit Retirement Communities: Frequently-asked Questions

In many parts of the country, nonprofit retirement communities abound.  If you're looking for housing and care for your aging parent, you'll see them.  So what's the difference between the nonprofits and the profits?  Take a look below:

1.  Are for profit retirement communities more profitable than nonprofits? 

Not necessarily.  There are for-profit senior communities that are weak financially and others that are strong.  The same goes for not-for-profits.   There's an old saying that rings true when it comes to nonprofits:  "No margin, no mission."  Financial stability is crucial for both groups to serve their residents and communities well.

2.  What does each group (nonprofit and for-profit) do with profits they make from their organization?

For-profits pay their investors and owners, both at the building level and at the corporate level. Non-profits must be socially accountable, investing in programs which will benefit those they directly service and the community at large.  Many nonprofit senior communities set aside monies for a benevolence fund for elders who run out of money.  Other nonprofits offer specialized training and scholarships to their employees.  Still others sponsor volunteer programs to reach out to those in need in the community.

3.  Are nonprofit retirement always faith-based (sponsored by churches)?

Many are church affiliated, but others are connected with lodges, hospitals or charitable foundations.  They are governed by volunteer boards, generally composed of people with expertise in a variety of fields which will be helpful to the community.

4.  How do charitable contributions help the nonprofits?

Individuals are able to give money to the retirement community, usually through a foundation or department of development.  They can deduct these contributions from their taxes.  In addition, in many states, nonprofit retirement communities are excerpt from a portion or all of the campus' property tax.

5.  Are monthly fees more or less at for-profits than at their nonprofit counterparts?

There are nonprofits offering affordable communities, and others that charge much more because of their luxurious lifestyle.  The same is true for for-profits:  varied price points, depending on their location and their prospective residents.


  1. I liked that you went through what nonprofit and for-profit retirement communities do with the money they make. It helps to know that non-profits usually invest in programs for their patrons. It seems that would help make seniors happier to live in those facilities compared to other facilities that use their money to pay their investors and owners.

  2. Thanks for your comment. Trutthfully, there are excellent for-profit communities and not-so-good not-for-profits. The idea of being held accountable for the good of the entire community, not just their residents, is definitely a potential plus for the not-for-profits, provided they take that social accountability seriously.

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  4. I'm glad you found this post helpful!


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