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Paul Evensen
12/Feb/2018

As we worked to create a regional framework for Social Purpose Real Estate and non-profit colocation in St Louis we looked to the considerable experience of the 400+ non-profit centers in the U.S. and Canada that have preceded us. Our review of this experience suggests that we could gain six specific benefits (Table 1) from creating non-profit centers. 1. Co-locating non-profits can enhance access to services by integrating services and putting them together in one shared location. The measurable outcomes might be increased use of services, easier access for constituents, and the establishment of a continuum of care. 2. Co-locating non-profits can lower costs by sharing “back of house” supports such as accounting, human resources, and risk management. Further, reduced turnover and the benefit from being near other organizational directors and program administrators could contribute to the bottom line. The measurable outcomes could be increased operational strength and efficiency, lower costs, and better managed organizations. These benefits may be particularly valued by smaller non-profit organizations or by newer ones seeking to establish effective systems.


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05/Jun/2017

When we work with nonprofits, we typically ask how much space they have currently and how much they’re looking for. Usually, the numbers only go up, but so much about the millennial workforce is changing how we interact with our workspace. When you’re thinking about moving or finding office space, don’t use your current space as the baseline – think outside the box. Let form follow function. What will be done in the space? Office work and data processing? Or will you be running child care programs? Counseling clients? Different uses require different amounts of space.


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25/May/2016

A recent question on Ask-NCN reminded me of a workshop I attended during our 2015 Building Opportunities Conference in Vancouver, BC on Identifying and Managing Risk in Social Purpose Real Estate. The presenter that resonated most with me was Mandy Hansen of Insight Specialty Consulting, who focused on ways that you can understand risk, especially risk from partnership. She suggested that all social purpose real estate projects (including nonprofit centers) conduct a “Risk Workshop,” a constructive way to assess potential issues. Here are the 4 steps to run your own Risk Workshop...


Saul Ettlin, Thoreau Center for Sustainability
28/Mar/2016

There’s a lot of change brewing in the commercial real estate (CRE) world. From how we work to what a new generation of workers want from their workplace, these shifts are impacting the design and offerings of office space. Some of these trends are maturing (like the open plan) and new ones are coming on the scene (like hackable workspaces). What’s exciting is that much of the new thinking is aligned with the values that are already important to those of us who own and operate social purpose real estate and easily builds on our efforts to develop robust communities while providing affordable, quality workspace.


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14/Mar/2016

In addition to our work with shared space, we at NCN are also interested in the broader field of social purpose real estate. We define social purpose real estate as any real estate asset that is used for a mission greater than maximizing profits, which can range from public parks to libraries, from museums to affordable housing projects. One of the most overlooked social purpose real estate is affordable commercial space, the space necessary for nonprofits to operate in a community. In some cities, the market creates enough affordable spaces that this isn’t a big issue, but in other cities, (most notably San Francisco), nonprofits are being displaced or evicted when they can’t keep up with the going rates. Here are four ways that cities have stepped in to support their nonprofit sectors...


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