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Abstract

Over the history of the corporate entity, U.S. law has evolved to treat the corporate entity as a legal person under the U.S. Constitution. Despite the increased rights granted to the corporation as a legal person, both for-profit and nonprofit corporations have come under considerable scrutiny for misconduct and issues related to corporate governance. When for-profit and nonprofit organizations collaborate together, however, both organizations generally seek to achieve philanthropic good. On the other hand, both organizations and their management are bound by law to fulfill specific duties to their individual constituents. In the 1930s, psychologist Jean Piaget noted, “[t]he good, in short, is not, like duty, the result of a constraint exercised by society upon the individual. The aspiration to the good is of different stuff from the obedience given to an imperative rule.” Guided by the basis for Piaget’s above assertion related to the natural person, this article begins an analysis of the relationship between legal persons: collaborating for-profit and nonprofit organizations in light of duty, arguing that there is a balance between too much constraint and none that leads to sustainability of the cooperative venture.