Despite the fact that he works for a nonprofit organization, Davis Hartwell (“LePage is right: private employers contribute more to economy,” Oct. 31) seems not to understand the definition of a nonprofit organization. Nonprofits are not defined by operating at a deficit, and many of them don’t.

What makes nonprofit distinct from for-profit organizations is that they don’t distribute any excess profits to owners or shareholders, instead plowing them back into the organization to deliver more programs or services. One might argue, therefore, that nonprofits are actually better positioned to boost the economy than their for-profit counterparts because they’re actually required to keep money circulating in the economy by investing it in service provision rather than allowing a few wealthy owners or shareholders to sit on it as long as they’d like.

But that’s actually beside the point. When it comes to the job creation that we all know is vital to Maine’s prosperity, the wages or salary that a Mainer earns from a job at a nonprofit organization are just as good as those earned by their neighbors working at a for-profit job. When they take their earnings down to the neighborhood store or the local farm stand, the dollars work just the same, and they serve just as well to feed and clothe their families.

In a time like this, it’s not useful to draw meaningless distinctions about what kind of job creators are better than others. The economic development at stake is too important right now to be engaging in this kind of fight. Nonprofit organizations and their representatives deserve to be at the table as much as their for-profit counterparts.