New Public Governance and the Growth of Co-Located Nonprofit Centers

Diane Vinokur-Kaplan
  • Nonprofit Policy Forum, March 2018, De Gruyter
  • DOI: 10.1515/npf-2017-0025

New Public Governance & Co-Located Non-profit Centers (Shared Space Buildings) In US and Canada.

What is it about?

In this century, there has been noted growth among Co-located Non-profit Centers, which are shared buildings or sites where multiple nonprofits are collectively housed (Their tenants are mostly 501c3's in the U.S. and registered charities in Canada). In the U.S. and Canada, this arrangement usually gives these organizations better-quality space, promotes their efficiency through lower, affordable rents and shared resources, promotes their effectiveness by tenants' frequent collaboration and coordination, and improves staff morale through their cooperative environments, their proximity to peers, and in-house trainings and gatherings. Those providing direct services give more access and better services to the public and more clients. Their presence can also have a positive impact on surrounding physical environments.These centers are sometimes sponsored by charitable foundations or by nonprofits themselves, sometimes with support and resources from corporations, government, and others.

Why is it important?

1. These arrangements give nonprofits more financial stability within volatile real estate markets in some big cities, where rising rents are displacing them. 2. The majority of US nonprofits are small (have under $1 million in annual expenses), but they need professional space with up-to-date technology with which to further develop their organizations. 3. Many non-profit centers are now offering lower-priced coworking space for individual social entrepreneurs, giving them a more professional workspace than a coffeehouse. 4. New Public Governance calls for more inter-organizational collaboration and service networks, which Non-profit centers facilitate.


Diane Vinokur-Kaplan (Author)
University of Michigan

Personally, I find that there are many communities-- big and small, rich and poor, urban, suburban, and rural--, that can benefit from establishing nonprofit centers. Public and private funding can go further and more towards mission because of the lower costs for the organization' rents and shared resources and equipment. They also can be landmarks and known addresses for nonprofits, giving them higher visibility in the community and to funders. Those providing services can also integrate with or refer to multiple agencies' services to better meet clients' needs. Examples of these centers have been established in many nonprofit subsectors, including education, children's, women's and seniors' services, social justice, arts & culture, environmental protection/sustainability, and health & mental health. They can also serve well nonprofit tenants from different subsectors, but that all generally serve the same population or neighborhood (such as Community Hubs).

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