Ownership Economy | September 28, 2023

Vernier Science Education transitions to a perpetual purpose trust

Jessica Pothering
ImpactAlpha Editor

Jessica Pothering

ImpactAlpha, September 28 — Vernier Science Education, a textbook, software and lab equipment provider for K-12 science and technology education, is converting ownership to a perpetual purpose trust to preserve the company’s mission.

The Oregon-based company was founded more than 40 years ago by high school physics teacher Dave Vernier. It’s been helmed since 2015 by John Wheeler, who joined the company as a design engineer 30 years ago and is preparing to step down.

The trust, Wheeler said, “will enable us to secure the future of our employees, reinvest in our business, and continue our mission of creating a STEM-literate society.”

Trust transitions

Purpose trusts are getting a fresh look as an inexpensive and flexible structure for aging business owners in search of succession plans. Companies transition ownership to a special entity that handles governance and ownership benefits, such as profit-sharing to employees.

Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard adopted the structure last year as part of his succession plan.