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Industry Insights

Nonprofits can revive endangered industries

By ,
Schone Malliet, founder and CEO, National Winter Activity Center.
Schone Malliet, founder and CEO, National Winter Activity Center.

Nonprofits are recognized for their impact on people's everyday lives, but many people fail to realize the positive impact they can have on business, as well. According to the National Council of Nonprofits, in 2012, the nonprofit sector contributed $878 billion to the U.S. economy, totaling roughly 5.4 percent of our nation's gross domestic product. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, nonprofits also employ more than 11 million people, which equates to more than 10 percent of the American workforce.

While nonprofits support a need, if properly utilized, they can support a struggling industry by providing it with a foundation and strategy to flourish. A suffering industry affects everyone involved. An example of that would be in winter sports where everything from hotels and tour operators, equipment and clothing manufacturers, to ski resorts themselves and employees are affected. After peaking in the 2010-2011 season, the winter sports industry has seen a steady decline of seven to 20 percent in participation, according to the Snowsports Industry of America. This decline is sounding alarms within the industry.

The National Winter Activity Center is an example of an organization that is creating a movement to revitalize an industry. The 501(C)(3) nonprofit winter activity facility is the first of its kind and is immediately impacting both its local community and the industry as a whole by introducing the sport to an entirely new audience that traditionally would not be active in winter sports.

The center is dedicated exclusively to youth, currently from the New Jersey/New York tri-state area, with a mission to better their health and wellness both physically and mentally. This nonprofit is creating future customers, in a manner much more effective than how the winter sports industry has done up to this point. The Center is creating a starting point for instilling lifelong habits of exercise in youth, which will in turn contribute to its participants’ growth into happy, confident adults.

Here are steps CEOs, entrepreneurs and other executives can take to potentially save a dying industry:

  1. Identify your passion point within the industry.
  2. Evaluate what is needed to avoid or reverse a decline.
  3. Create a movement where others will join you and commence engagement with the industry.
  4. Sometimes you have to go against industry norms to create change; do not be afraid to make the industry uncomfortable.

Youth in neighborhoods that do not have convenient access to a safe and organized approach to explore the outdoors, especially in the winter months, are particularly lacking assistance. While youth from all communities whether rural, suburban or urban face their own barriers, neighborhoods such as the one I grew up in, simply can’t afford the space and accommodation necessary for many outdoor sports, especially winter activities. As a businessman with a passion for skiing and concern for the wellness of youth, I created a nonprofit that I knew I would enjoy investing my time in and did so because it did not already exist. It is possible to accomplish both through nonprofit endeavors, by investing in it and also providing the experience I had to thousands of today’s youth. If you invest in something you are passionate about, whether you reach one or one thousand individuals, you’re still making a positive impact, and that’s a success.


Schone Malliet is a transformational leader making a difference in the lives of families, organizations, individuals and communities. As the founder and CEO of the National Winter Activity Center, he is positioning winter activity as life changing; improving the lives, fitness and health of youth throughout the United States. One of the projects of the foundation is the National Winter Activity Center that opened this winter in New Jersey as an outdoor winter environment dedicated to instruction for youth in the tri-state area. He has led a team of professionals to address the financial needs and dreams of his clients as Vice President and Private Banker at Wells Fargo. He is the former Executive Vice President of the National Brotherhood of Skiers. Throughout his career Schone has helped to start, build and lead several companies in the technology, publishing and software industries. As a former CEO, General Manager and Chief Sales/Marketing Executive he has provided the strategic vision and tactical leadership that allowed individuals and organizations to achieve personal and company objectives.

Raised in the South Bronx, Schone was educated in New York City parochial schools. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in economics from Holy Cross College, and an MBA from Pepperdine University. He has a broad set of accomplishments to draw upon from family, military, athletic and corporate environments, having held these positions: Marine pilot, alpine ski racing coach, Chief Executive Officer of ViaNovus, alyXsys Inc., and senior sales and marketing executive. Schone is on the board of managers of the Harlem YMCA, board member of the Holy Cross College Alumni Association, a recipient of NY Urban League “Building Brick” award, Anheuser Busch “Man of the Year” award as well the YMCA of Greater New York “Black Achiever in Industry” recognition.

He lives in Atlanta with his family, Cheryl, Julian and Alex, who are all passionate about skiing and golf.

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