Real Estate as a Strategy for Nonprofit Sustainability


Who would you sooner pay monthly - a landlord or a mortgage company? For New Westminster Community Development Society, the chance to purchase its office building outright seemed like the opportunity of a lifetime. But there was a long way between seizing the opportunity and closing the deal. Vicki Austad details how NWCDS pulled it off.


"After investing so much time and effort in our search, and in the costs for relocating and making significant improvements, the bank’s opt-out clause became a big cause for worry. We were not comfortable with leasing a space that we might have to vacate within 90 days. If we were evicted, that money would be lost to the Society and we couldn’t afford that. For greater security, we wondered if it would be safer to purchase the office space outright. It was time to look at our options. We began to consider the benefits and risks of owning our own offices.

"Could a nonprofit society become a property owner, possibly even a landlord, and maintain its charitable status and its values? Could we raise the funds to purchase a strata property valued at $675,000? Would ownership help us achieve our goal of becoming more financially sustainable?"

Can NWCDS become a commercial landlord without losing its hide or its soul?
Austad, Vicki
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