People all over Western New York will give back this holiday season by dropping a few extra dollars into a red kettle or adding a cash donation onto their grocery bill. This way of saying thanks has endured for over one hundred years, but what if there was another way? That's exactly what Lindsay Beck was thinking when she proposed a radical new idea that was featured in The New York Times article, "Plan to Finance Philanthropy Shows the Power of a Simple Question", by Andrew Ross Sorkin.

Ms. Beck envisions a stock exchange that lists not-for-profits and charitable organizations. If the idea of creating a for-profit exchange for institutions like the United Way and Salvation Army seems a bit strange to you, you're not the only one. That said; Ms. Beck has attracted the right kind of attention, including people from Goldman Sachs and the Obama administration. Some have even speculated that this could be a trillion dollar goldmine for the not-for-profit world.

While it's still too early to tell whether or not this concept can be implemented, you have to give Lindsay Beck credit for proposing a solution to an obvious problem. Unlike public companies, which are heavily scrutinized by investors, the not-for-profit world has always had a bit of a transparency problem. Even simple questions like where dollars are going and success rates of various programs can be difficult to determine. As someone who likes to know where my donations are going and what the outcomes are, I see this as a really positive step.

(This article contains the current opinions of the author but not necessarily those of Brighton Securities Corp. The author's opinions are subject to change without notice. This blog post is for informational purposes only. Forecasts, estimates, and certain information contained herein should not be considered as investment advice or a recommendation of any particular security, strategy or investment product. References to specific securities and their issuers are for illustrative purposes only and are not intended and should not be interpreted as recommendations to purchase or sell such securities).