We launched Kickstarter in 2009 as a new way to bring creative projects to life. In 2015 we reincorporated as a Public Benefit Corporation. This is a Project Update on our first year as Kickstarter PBC.
If “Public Benefit Corporation” is new to you, not to worry. PBCs are for-profit companies that are legally obligated to consider the impact of their decisions on society, not just shareholders. Until recently, for-profit companies that wanted to make positive impact on society a part of their legal duties had no clear protection or mandate under US law. As a PBC, they do.
When we became a PBC, we wrote a charter laying out our commitments. We committed Kickstarter to always support art and artists, to operate with a corporate code of conduct, and to donate 5% of post-tax profits to arts education and organizations fighting inequality. We also pledged to publicly report how we did on these commitments each year. That's what you're reading now. This Benefit Statement notes both achievements and shortcomings from our first year.
Since becoming a PBC we’ve heard from many others who are interested in becoming one too. We’re encouraged to see so much enthusiasm — especially in the younger generation — for building a scalable business that doesn’t put profits above all. We want to help this momentum grow. This year we plan to work with other PBCs to make better resources available for companies who want to adopt the form, and to help push the Public Benefit Corporation movement forward.