Profit vs. Nonprofit CCRCs – does it matter?

Profit vs nonprofit – does it matter?

When it comes time to consider moving to a Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC), you will have two different models to choose from – the nonprofit model, and the for-profit model. The distinctions between the two are significant and understanding them goes a long way toward making sure you select the CCRC that best serves your needs.

Few people have a deeper understanding of CCRCs than Keith Robertson, director of senior living at Ziegler Investment Banking, and he has no doubt about the model he prefers.

“Not-for-profit CCRCs do it right, and for the right reasons,” Robertson shares. “They’re mostly born from affinity groups looking for ways to serve their members – religious orders, community groups, and fraternal organizations. They are not necessarily profit-making endeavors. CCRCs are ways to expand their nonprofit missions, which are to serve their selected populations with the highest quality care and to create the best lifestyle possible.”

At Piper Shores, we pride ourselves on upholding our mission every day – to be a vibrant community that promotes residents’ long-term wellbeing and health within a continuum of lifecare services. Because we are a nonprofit organization, the money Piper Shores makes is used to further promote that mission, rather than to directly profit an individual or corporate owner. It means that when residents decide to live in our community, they are doing more than paying for a service – they are investing in a philosophy and a set of values.

When new Piper Shores’ residents Betty and Duncan Perry made the decision to move to a CCRC, they knew they wanted the nonprofit model. “Number one, it had to be a non-profit,” explains Betty. “Nonprofit means to us that it’s going to be a community that doesn’t cheat you; whose values are going to resonate with us.”

Financial security is another benefit derived from mission-based care you receive at a nonprofit CCRC. Because it’s a charitable entity, nonprofit CCRCs like Piper Shores set aside funds to deal with unexpected hardship. “One of the real strengths of a nonprofit CCRC is a strong balance sheet,” Robertson says. “That gives Piper Shores and its residents protection from what happened in 2008. It gives the residents the protection to deal with any blips in the economy or something that isn’t expected or planned for. It gives them the cushion and the protection they need.”

But most importantly of all, a commitment to a mission means a commitment to better care, to investing in areas where for-profit entities typically cut corners (e.g. staff, dining services), and to making residents happier and healthier.

If Robertson were to choose a CCRC for himself, he knows one thing for sure: “I personally would move into a nonprofit CCRC. The idea of my monthly fees going to support a mission as opposed to going into an individual’s pocket just feels better to me.”