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Start Your Own Nonprofit

Publication Date: 
December 19, 2008
U.S. News & World Report
Kimberly Palmer

Former Dean and Professor Paul Brest is quoted in U.S. News & World Report in a story about the pros and cons of starting your own non-profit organization:

On a bike ride overlooking San Francisco more than 20 years ago, Marilyn Price was struck with what would become a life-changing idea. She thought, "Wouldn't it be neat to bring kids from that neighborhood up here?" recalls Price, now 68. She formed a nonprofit, Trips for Kids, that has since organized bike trips for more than 45,000 disadvantaged kids.

The number of nonprofits has grown 30 percent over the past decade, a trend driven in part by increasing awareness of global poverty and the Internet's ability to connect people to one another, says Tom Pollak, program director for the Urban Institute's National Center for Charitable Statistics. Creating a new organization enables people to address problems or challenges without being hindered by the rules and culture of existing groups. Many nonprofit founders say it has allowed them to help people they would have never otherwise been able to reach.


"Fundamentally, there are too many nonprofit organizations in the United States. Somebody starting his or her own nonprofit ought to ask, 'Am I likely to have the most impact by starting my own organization, or by contributing my services and money to an existing organization?'" suggests Paul Brest, coauthor of Money Well Spent.