Actually I'm Not Even Mad, That's Amazing
Every couple of years, I will be reminded that both Ikea and Rolex are non-profits. I’m not really bothered by it anymore, though I am still impressed. And every time, I feel the urge to go and double-check my sources, reconfirming that yes, indeed they are. By the official measures for such things, so long as I don’t take more than 25 minutes gathering the sources I like and writing up this post, I’m being productive!
Ever since the death of Hans Wilsdorf in 1960, The Fondation Hans Wilsdorf has held 100% of Rolex. 1 The foundation will tell you that in the last fiscal year over 5,000 grants have been awarded and their percentage of spending by category, but little else. Rolex.org will selectively cover some of these grants as well.
An additional little referenced fact is that Rolex was founded in England, Hans had immigrated there from his native Bavaria, and Rolex would only become Swiss after the company was moved in 1920.2
The definitive account of Ikea’s ownership remains a 2006 piece from The Economist, Flat-pack accounting. The founder, Ingvar Kamprad, famously left Sweden for Switzerland to avoid Sweden’s “very restrictive” tax regime.
While they no longer choose to use it, giving it up in 2015 after a 73-year run, the NFL actually has a carve out for themselves as an exempt organization enshrined into the tax code; Section 501(c)(6) - Professional football leagues | Internal Revenue Service, which applied to other sports leagues as well.
Historique de Rolex, page 7, via the wayback machine in case that pdf moves. ↩︎
Historique de Rolex, page 3, via the wayback machine in case that pdf moves. ↩︎