Why Choose a Nonprofit Senior Living Community vs. a For-Profit Community?

October 12, 2020

Selecting a senior living community for yourself or your loved one is a highly personal choice. Whether you’re exploring independent living, assisted living or memory care, one of the factors you may wish to consider is whether the community operates as a for-profit or not-for-profit (nonprofit) organization. While both may look similar at first glance, there are some key differences between for-profit and not-for-profit senior living communities.

What is a For-Profit Senior Community?

Like any private business, a for-profit senior living community is beholden to its stakeholders to earn a profit. Many for-profit communities belong to large national chains. The largest senior living providers in the U.S. own hundreds of properties with thousands of units. More than 80 percent of senior communities are for-profit, either privately owned or part of a chain. While they may provide high-quality service and amenities, their primary function is to earn a profit from rent and fees. 

What is Nonprofit Senior Living?

By definition, a nonprofit organization must reinvest any profit back into its core mission. Nonprofit organizations are also eligible to raise money from individual and corporate donors, whose gifts are tax deductible, and to apply for certain government and private grants. Not-for-profit senior living communities are typically affiliated with religious or professional groups, although they cannot discriminate against any residents based on that affiliation.

Benefits of Choosing a Not-for-Profit Senior Community

Many of the differences of not-for-profit senior living  vs. for-profit communities are intangible. As a resident of a nonprofit senior community, you may simply find peace of mind knowing that the leadership is motivated by a mission, rather than by satisfying the owners and investors financially. Your wellbeing — or that of your loved one who lives in the community — will always come before profit. Here are more specific ways that not-for-profit senior communities benefit residents, and how those factors play out here at Aviva.

1. More Sources of Funding

The IRS grants tax-exempt status for not-for-profit organizations because they further a cause or public benefit. That status allows these types of organizations to accept donations from a wide range of sources. This flexibility allows a not-for-profit senior community to keep its rent lower than it could otherwise, and even extend financial support to residents with extenuating circumstances. For example, long-time residents who outlive their resources may apply for a cost reduction, thanks to the generosity of donors. 

Other resources are available to nonprofit senior living communities as well. For example, during the COVID-19 pandemic, members of a consortium of not-for-profit senior communities (to which Aviva belongs) helped each other locate testing resources and PPE for staff. In addition, a grant from the Jewish Federation enabled Aviva to pay for some of that much-needed equipment.

2. The Role of the Board of Trustees

A not-for-profit is run by a board of directors, or board of trustees, tasked with adopting sound, ethical, and legal governance. The board seeks out caring, knowledgeable members to replenish their numbers as people leave based on term limits. The board hires and oversees the CEO, sharing their resources with him or her.

The board of directors interacts with the residents and listens to their input. The board may also form relationships with the local governments, businesses and other organizations to connect the senior community with the larger community. At Aviva, our board of trustees is highly active and some members are actually family members of former residents, a testament to their positive experience.

3. Focus on Community

Because of the board’s leadership and the focus on a mission, a not-for-profit senior residence can flourish into a true community. Residents, staff and board members get to know each other and watch out for each other. Their shared values unify them.

One way in which Aviva strives to care for all seniors — not just our residents — is by offering a classical music series that any local seniors may attend free of charge. Because of our ability to accept funding gifts, we’re able to offer special programs that would otherwise not fit the budget.

Why Choose Aviva’s Nonprofit Community

At Aviva, our mission is to be the senior living community of choice for seniors who wish to spend their lives in an intellectually, physically and spiritually rich environment. Whether it’s in our independent living, assisted living, or healthcare service areas, we seek to provide a safe haven that is peaceful and unpretentious and gives every senior a sense of belonging and the level of care they need. To support our nonprofit’s mission, please make a gift.

To learn more about senior living at Aviva, contact us today.

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