Nonprofit vs. For Profit Retirement Communities

Nonprofit vs. For Profit Retirement Communities


In 1947, a Cedar Rapids philanthropist named Mr. Barthinius Wick set aside some funds in his trust for a specific purpose: he wanted to build a residence to provide care and community for older, single people like himself.

After he passed, the Upper Iowa Conference of the Methodist Church partnered with the Wick trust to turn his dream into a reality. The Methodist Church had experience running retirement homes in other cities around the Midwest. They opened the new residence in 1961 with a name that honored both the Methodist Church and Barthinius Wick – Meth-Wick Manor.

Over the next 57 years, Meth-Wick Manor grew into Meth-Wick Community. We built eight more buildings to offer options from independent living in single-family homes to full-time nursing care. We cultivated the woods and walking trails that line our beautiful 68-acre campus. We hired the best health care providers and the friendliest staff. But through all our growth, there’s one thing that hasn’t changed.

We’ve always remained independent and locally-managed. We were a not-for-profit organization then and we’re a not-for-profit organization now.

Barthinius Wick’s commitment to older adults is one we honor to this day. As a not-for-profit, our financial and philosophical obligation is to our residents, not investors or shareholders. We have an unpaid volunteer board of directors that lend their professional expertise in health care, real estate, marketing and more so that we can provide the best services and facilities. Every decision we make is done in the best interest of those who live on our campus.

When you hear the word “nonprofit” you may think of a small, struggling charity that can’t meet its obligations. Not us. As our CFO Ron Jaeger likes to say, “We’re not-for-profit, but we’re not for loss either.” A not-for-profit reinvests its earnings back into the organization to maintain our buildings and grounds and innovate our programs and services. When an individual or couple moves to Meth-Wick, they are making an investment in their new home. It’s our responsibility to make it a worthwhile investment for years to come.

In today’s business environment, truly local and independent senior living communities are difficult to find. But we believe our not-for-profit designation allows us to better serve our residents, rather than bending to the wishes of shareholders. We’re proud of our not-for-profit status and will continue to defend it for future generations of Meth-Wick residents.