Not-for-Profit VS. For-Profit Retirement Communities – Thanks for Joining Us!

By Sarah Sexton | Publish Date February 02, 2021

“Kirkwood began as a not-for-profit created by the Independent Presbyterian Church to offer continuing care retirement to seniors.”


Not-for-profit: What does that mean? What’s the difference? What are the benefits?

To give a brief summary of our Not-for-profit vs. For-profit retirement communities blog series thus far. Let’s remember what questions we have answered:

In part of one of our blog series, we addressed “What is a Not-for profit retirement community?” And “What’s the Difference?”  We defined an NFP retirement community as an organization that keeps all of its earnings within the organization which is also the main difference between the NFP and FP retirement communities. Because For-profit organizations have obligations to investors and shareholders, before using their funds to re-invest in the community they must first deliver the “bottom line”. A NFP community’s primary commitment and obligation is to its residents.

In part two, we addressed “What are the benefits to choosing a Not-for-profit community?” Some of the benefits we talked about include the organizational and motivational structure as well as the resident voice in the future of the community. Kirkwood by the River’s not-for-profit organizational structure begins with the local church – Independent Presbyterian church – that founded our organization 40 years ago. Next, our CEO, CFO, and Health Administrator who oversee the community’s day-to-day decisions are all onsite. Last, our board of directors are all local to Birmingham and don’t have any monetary investments they are looking to receive a return on in this community. This organizational structure benefits Kirkwood residents because the people who make decisions for the present and future well-being of this organization all reside in town and are focused on our singular community and its residents. The voice of our residents really matters to our leadership – our Kirkwood Residents Association meets to discuss various aspects of the community and work with the administration to develop solutions and ways to better the organization as a whole.

In part three of our series we heard from our CEO, Chad Carter, and asked “Why did you choose to work in Not-for-profit over For-profit retirement communities?” With him, we learned more about the local volunteers who make up our board of directors, our mission to serve and care for the residents in our community, and how the Coronavirus Pandemic has affected our community differently than it would a for-profit community. 

To wrap up this series, there are many things that set Not-for-profit retirement communities apart from the rest and Kirkwood by the River is such a unique and wonderful community to be apart of. We hope you keep these things in mind as you are choosing a place to call home for yourself or a loved one!


The Residents

Our residents come from different backgrounds and bring their unique qualities, talents, and life experiences to complete the Kirkwood community. Here are just a few reflections from some individuals who call Kirkwood their home.

My time at Kirkwood was spectacular; they taught me how to walk again. The staff was outstanding, and the care was beyond reproach. When I arrived, I had a long way to go. I was very sick. The first night, they had to lift me as I could not move by myself. When I left, they were chasing me down the hallway. They taught me how to perform the activities of daily living again. It was the best care I could have prayed for, and on top of that, the food was spectacular.

Eli Gold Past Resident

I fell in love with the cottage and the view from my back porch. I am excited to have a yard for Ginger, my poodle, to play in and my own garage, all within an established retirement community!

Charlotte Hamilton Current Resident

My husband and I looked at a number of places when deciding to move to a retirement community. For the most part, we found communities that said, ‘We’re going to take care of you.’ But Kirkwood was different. It wasn’t just about taking care of us. It was also about having fun, having friends, and living life to the fullest. The attitude at Kirkwood was positive and the atmosphere was comforting. We simply couldn’t resist. Without a doubt, the location was ideal. The Cahaba Room that overlooks the river, the mountains, the trails – there were just so many things about life. The community was lively. It was alive.

Alice Brooks Current Resident

We realized we were approaching an age where we might need more assistance than what just downsizing could provide. Knowing we have my sons nearby and the levels of care should we need it is comforting, and the beautiful hillside, river, and the woods makes it that much more appealing. We don’t know of any other community that has the woods, the various levels of care, and so many different amenities.

Phyllis and John Guschke Current Residents

We were moving my parents down from the Cleveland area to be near us. I looked at almost every retirement place in the Birmingham area. The second I turned into Kirkwood’s drive and drove up the hill, I knew that I’d found the perfect place for my parents to live in Alabama. In the six years that my parents have been at Kirkwood, I have always felt nothing but love and helpfulness from every staff member. Everyone is always helpful with a pleasant attitude. You can truly see and feel the family atmosphere. I’m happy that my parents can call Kirkwood their home.

Brenda Sheehan Kirkwood family member

When we learned that Cedar Ridge was being developed, that seemed to fit our needs very well. It is the ideal place for the next phase of our retirement.

Carol and Arthur Stephens Current Residents

One thing that we feel is very important here at Kirkwood by the River is the relationship that we have between the staff and the residents. They are dedicated to making our life here as safe and secure and pleasurable as possible. That goes a long way.

Fred Rogers Current Resident

The community's cottage living surrounded by a wooded, natural environment with access to future healthcare services is what attracted us to Kirkwood!

Rick and Jane Ricketts Current Residents