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Wednesday, March 20, 2013

More States Moving Towards Integrated Corporate Statutes

For those keeping track, several new states have recently introduced legislation providing for integrated corporate structures for social entrepreneurs, with the most recent announcement coming today in a watershed moment as Delaware, the "grand-daddy" of the corporate bar, announced the introduction of legislation for a Public Benefit Corporation.

Delaware's proposed legislation looks a good deal like the California Flexible Purpose Corporation, rather than the Benefit Corporation option being pushed by my friends at B Labs.  (Colorado has also introduced legislation that looks more similar to the Flexible Purpose Corporation than the Benefit Corporation, Washington has already passed legislation modeled on the Flexible Purpose Corporation, and a number of states are considering options similar to the California model.)

Of course, the Benefit Corporation model is also progressing in a number of states.

So what's an entrepreneur to do?

Stay tuned for an FAQ roadmap for entreprenuers, coming soon to this blog near you!


*Todd is a partner at the law firm of Jones Day, where he founded their Silicon Valley Office and runs their Renewable Energy and Sustainability Practice. The views expressed in this column are solely Todd’s personal views, not the views of Jones Day or its clients, and the information provided as to his affiliation with Jones Day is solely for purposes of identification and may not and should not be construed to imply endorsement or even support by Jones Day of the views expressed herein.  © R. Todd Johnson, 2013.

Business for Good(SM) is a service mark of R. Todd Johnson. The thoughts, ideas and words expressed in this column are the property of R. Todd Johnson and may not be otherwise used or reprinted without express permission from Todd.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Priming the Pump for Impact Investing

Omidyar Network has done it again -- providing thought leadership for the impact investing and social enterprise space -- this time with a well-reasoned and well written white paper on impact investing as a sector play, rather than just the domain of a few firms.

Take a look.  It's worth the read!


*Todd is a partner at the law firm of Jones Day, where he founded their Silicon Valley Office and runs their Renewable Energy and Sustainability Practice. The views expressed in this column are solely Todd’s personal views, not the views of Jones Day or its clients, and the information provided as to his affiliation with Jones Day is solely for purposes of identification and may not and should not be construed to imply endorsement or even support by Jones Day of the views expressed herein.

© R. Todd Johnson, 2012. Business for Good(SM) is a service mark of R. Todd Johnson. The thoughts, ideas and words expressed in this column are the property of R. Todd Johnson and may not be otherwise used or reprinted without express permission from Todd.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Lessons from an Impact Investing Newbie

Okay, so I just couldn't resist linking to this new blog post from one of the coolest people I know (who just happens to be my daughter)!


*Todd is a partner at the law firm of Jones Day, where he founded their Silicon Valley Office and runs their Renewable Energy and Sustainability Practice. The views expressed in this column are solely Todd’s personal views, not the views of Jones Day or its clients, and the information provided as to his affiliation with Jones Day is solely for purposes of identification and may not and should not be construed to imply endorsement or even support by Jones Day of the views expressed herein.


© R. Todd Johnson, 2012. Business for Good.SM is a service mark of R. Todd Johnson. The thoughts, ideas and words expressed in this column are the property of R. Todd Johnson and may not be otherwise used or reprinted without express permission from Todd.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Work vs. Life's Work

What you get as a new hire welcome letter at Apple Inc.  on Twitpic
I hope this is truly what you get as a welcome letter on the first day!


*Todd is a partner at the law firm of Jones Day, where he founded their Silicon Valley Office and runs their Renewable Energy and Sustainability Practice. The views expressed in this column are solely Todd’s personal views, not the views of Jones Day or its clients, and the information provided as to his affiliation with Jones Day is solely for purposes of identification and may not and should not be construed to imply endorsement or even support by Jones Day of the views expressed herein.


 © R. Todd Johnson, 2012. Business for Good.SM is a service mark of R. Todd Johnson. The thoughts, ideas and words expressed in this column are the property of R. Todd Johnson and may not be otherwise used or reprinted without express permission from Todd.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

What would you do with $20?

First, let me offer an enticement for reading all the way through this post: it includes a secret for a challenge and a giveaway.  So keep reading!

Last weekend, I had the privilege of working with 70 people (young, old, single, married) who showed up on Saturday knowing only that it they would be going on an adventure, that we fondly called "Love Out Loud." Knowing nothing more, they showed up.

When they did, we talked a little about what it means to help others, how sometimes good intentions can yield negative unintended consequences (especially when we try to help, without the benefit of a relationship), and how sometimes by insisting on "giving," we can rob others of doing the same (by not receiving well). 

And then we began the adventure.

Each person was handed an envelope.  Inside was a piece of paper and a $20 bill.  On the piece of paper were three rules about the money:

1.  It's not yours!  You can't do something for yourself, directly or indirectly (including making yourself feel better).

2.  You have to do something to help someone else. 

3.  You had to be willing to come back in a few hours and tell your story.

The results were amazing!

College students studying for finals were given study breaks and a snack. Folks living on the street were given a warm meal and a friendly conversation and, in at least one case, a friendship.  People living in elder-care facilities were given flowers and workers were given snacks.  Nurses and doctors working in the emergency room were given snacks and a break.  One person just stood on the street with a sign that said, "I promise to pay you a compliment" and in small print "If you promise to pay it forward."  When people signed the pledge to pay the compliment forward, he gave them $1, as a thanks.

Sure, it was short term and, yes, these were small, random acts of kindness.  But repeatedly, we heard people saying during the storytelling time that it made them think, "what would it be like if I used $20 a week of my own money with this same challenge?"

And this got me to thinking about how this might scale. What if a business were to say, "we are going to set aside some money -- not for sponsorships, not to help our brand, but simply to help others -- and then used those funds to stretch the organization by matching employees to go out and act?  What if employees were encouraged to do more than just donate the money, by building relationships with organizations and individuals that were helping to make the world a better place.

So here's the challenge part of this post: 

What would you do with $25, applying the three rules above?  

If I gave you $25 right now, would you be willing to match that amount and use the $50 to help someone else (and then post a comment here to tell your story)?

If you are wondering about the giveaway part of the post, here it is:

I will do just that!  For the first 10 people to post a comment here, I'll give you a $25 credit on Kiva. (Yes, you have to have a Kiva account for this to work.)  I'd hope you'd consider matching that amount and help an entrepreneur in the developing world.

I know it's not much.  But what if . . . ?

As we've often said to our children:

Start where you are,
Use what you have,
Do what you can,
It will be enough.


*Todd is a partner at the law firm of Jones Day, where he founded their Silicon Valley Office and runs their Renewable Energy and Sustainability Practice. The views expressed in this column are solely Todd’s personal views, not the views of Jones Day or its clients, and the information provided as to his affiliation with Jones Day is solely for purposes of identification and may not and should not be construed to imply endorsement or even support by Jones Day of the views expressed herein.

 © R. Todd Johnson, 2012. Business for Good.SM is a service mark of R. Todd Johnson. The thoughts, ideas and words expressed in this column are the property of R. Todd Johnson and may not be otherwise used or reprinted without express permission from Todd.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

New York Times Report on the Flexible Purpose Corporation

It doesn't feel so bad being quoted on the front page of the New York Times Business Section. I just wish the reporters paid a little more attention to the facts, namely:
  • it's not a low-profit model, if you don't want it to be;
  • the California State Bar's Corporations Committee and the Department of Corporations supported the Flexible Purpose Corporation; and
  • California is the only state that offers the FPC and the only state that also has a Benefit Corporation statute.
Sorry for the mini-rant.

Other stories on California's new statutes:
Los Angeles Times, California's new B Corp law eyes social, environmental interplay


*Todd is a partner at the law firm of Jones Day, where he founded their Silicon Valley Office and runs their Renewable Energy and Sustainability Practice. The views expressed in this column are solely Todd’s personal views, not the views of Jones Day or its clients, and the information provided as to his affiliation with Jones Day is solely for purposes of identification and may not and should not be construed to imply endorsement or even support by Jones Day of the views expressed herein.

 © R. Todd Johnson, 2011. Business for Good.SM is a service mark of R. Todd Johnson. The thoughts, ideas and words expressed in this column are the property of R. Todd Johnson and may not be otherwise used or reprinted without express permission from Todd. 

Monday, October 10, 2011

Governor Brown Signs California Flexible Purpose Corporation and Benefit Corporation Legislation

At the 11th hour, last night, just before the deadline, Governor Brown signed Senate Bill 201 (the Corporate Flexibility Act of 2011) creating the Flexible Purpose Corporation, and Assembly Bill 361 creating the Benefit Corporation.

Both laws will take effect on January 1, 2012.



*Todd is a partner at the law firm of Jones Day, where he founded their Silicon Valley Office and runs their Renewable Energy and Sustainability Practice. The views expressed in this column are solely Todd’s personal views, not the views of Jones Day or its clients, and the information provided as to his affiliation with Jones Day is solely for purposes of identification and may not and should not be construed to imply endorsement or even support by Jones Day of the views expressed herein.

 © R. Todd Johnson, 2011. Business for Good.SM is a service mark of R. Todd Johnson. The thoughts, ideas and words expressed in this column are the property of R. Todd Johnson and may not be otherwise used or reprinted without express permission from Todd.