The scandal of government support

The Nonprofit Quarterly's Rick Cohen recently posted on social enterprises that receive millions of dollars in government funds. Whether or not you think that social entrepreneurs should draw down on taxpayer funds, the post and the responses it provoked are well worth considering.

Even if you don't believe that government grants are problematic, note that for some people this appears to be a betrayal of the movement's gospel of disruptive innovation and self-sustaining ventures. Moreover, we should also consider the impact of entrepreneurial rhetoric on nonprofits looking to social enterprise to get them out of reliance on grant support. If we are to give them truly useful strategic advice, we need to be forthright about the complex reality of social venture finance.