The field of social enterprise is long on stories but short on numbers. Baorong Guo, an assistant professor in the School of Social Work at the University of Missouri-St. Louis, is trying to change that. Her research article in the March 2006 Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly is one of the first to explore empirically how commercial income affects human service agencies.

Guo’s numbers tell a mixed story. On the one hand, commercial revenues do not help organizations fulfill their...

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