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What is a nonprofit?

According to the National Center for Charitable Statistics, there are about 1.5 million registered nonprofits in the United States. As you might already know, Cantata Adult Life Services is a 501(c) (3) nonprofit organization, founded by the Daughters of the British Empire back in 1920.

While nonprofits are all around us, few people truly understand what nonprofits are and what we really do. Are we unable to make a profit? Is our organization run by volunteers? We’ll get to the root of some common misconceptions by simplifying a common gray area and helping you better understand how Cantata fits into the nonprofit spectrum.

In its simplest form, a nonprofit organization is any organization that uses its surplus income to further achieve its mission rather than distributing excess income to its leaders or shareholders. On the other hand, a for-profit can distribute its money to private individuals for “private benefit.” By meeting requirements set forth by the IRS, we are tax exempt because we are providing for the greater good of the community and actively participating in “public benefit.”

In Cantata’s case, our mission is to help older adults, their families, and the communities age successfully. To achieve this mission, we have several established service lines on our campus and in the communities to meet anyone’s unique needs or situations. Cantata is a community-serving nonprofit that returns its income back into the organization. With funds garnered over the years: we have expanded our campus to include Independent/Assisted Living and short-stay rehab; we’ve launched our highly successful Take2 program for Cantata Home Services; established our Handyman, Lifelong Learning and Best Life Breakfast Club programs; built up our English Garden for rehab patients and residents to enjoy; and more!

Even though our organization wouldn’t be where we are without our dedicated volunteers, our organization also employs over 250 passionate staff members. In the US alone, nonprofits account for over 11 million jobs! Many assume that nonprofits don’t actually make a profit. But without revenue growth, an organization is unable to innovate, develop, and reinvest; in our case, invest into the seniors we serve and our overarching mission.
In addition to providing valuable services, Cantata is also able to raise money through various outlets, including (but not limited to) grants and donations from individuals like you. These donations then get distributed to the pending needs of our organization.

There are so many more wonderful things to say about nonprofits as a whole and even though we only touched upon a few of the basics, we hope you better understand what a nonprofit organization is and how Cantata operates as one of the 1.5 million.

If you are looking to donate and want to make a positive difference in the lives of our seniors, please visit us at or you can mail a check to Cantata Best Life Foundation at 8700 W 31st St, Brookfield, IL 60513.