We have chosen to turn the Downtube into a non-profit. This is no easy task, as creating a socialistic company in a capitalistic world can fall into many pitfalls.
Dilemma #1: Should be file as a 503.1c non-profit?
Creating a 501.1c non-profit has one additional benefit over running as a for profit company and donating profits. We would be able to apply for government grants, which is something we have no interest in pursuing. However a 503.1c requires a board that could push out our current principals. We have chosen to run it as a for-profit business while donating all profits.
Dilemma #2: How much do we give away?
This is really hard to answer, we have experienced 100% sales growth for the past two years. Giving away all the profits will not allow us to continue this growth, actually it would not allow for any growth. Hence we will reinvest profits during high growth periods with the understanding that 80%+ will be donated during slow growth periods
Dilemma #3: Where does the Downtube's money go?
We spend approximately $1300 per month on warehousing & shipping labor ( not UPS ), $800 per month on a business cargo van ( which has two years of payments remaining ), $500 per month on marketing ( this will increase to $1000 soon ), zero on contract labor, but this should go up to $800 by the summer, $60k per year to Dr. Yan Lyansky for running everything.
Dilemma #4: Who gets donations?
In 2016 we gave to Bernie Sanders and Bennett College, a women's HBCU which Dr. Yan taught. It was a school started by emancipated slaves in the basement of a church. Their history is sacred, and they need help to survive; the school is in bad shape right now. Please help if you can.
In 2017 we have chosen GreenPeace and the World Wildlife Fund to each get half of donations. We appreciate how GreenPeace has organized against the new president. We hope they will grow and do great things for our world.