About us

about material research l3c

Material Research, L3C is a Partnership of researchers established in the State of Maine in 2019. A L3C is a “low profit” form of LLC, meaning our work and profits are dedicated to charitable and educational purposes. In addition to providing affordable contract research, we will launch projects not yet covered by other organizations. 

Most often, we partner with nonprofit organizations to research, analyze, and present information that is strategic, accurate, and often-difficult-to-obtain, yet essential to advancing their public missions. We work with public agencies, citizen campaigns, businesses, coalitions, foundations, and investors. Audiences include elected officials, policy, and decision makers, citizen leaders, courts of law, boards of trustees, industry leaders, trade groups, media, and the public.

Our team is top-notch, bringing expertise and wisdom from a wide range on professional disciplines and applications including information technology, chemistry, biology, botany, private investigation, conservation, real estate acquisition, chemical engineering, teaching, public policy, citizen organizing, fundraising, strategic planning, and global campaigning.

Material Research is dedicated to the principals of transparency and public access to research and information supported and underwritten by philanthropic dollars.

Material Research is chartered as a low-profit or L3C corportation by the State of Maine. Its charitable and educational mission allows it to recieve program-related investments (PRIs) from foundations.

Meet the Team

Rick Hind

Policy Analyst
Rick Hind is a leading expert on chemicals policy, including chemical safety. He was Legislative Director for Greenpeace for 25 years. Rick also led the U.S. Public Interest Research Group's environmental programs, was a regional director of Clean Water Action, and has his roots in social justice, including working with the Coalition for a new Foreign and Military Policy, Quaker Bail Fund, and Clergy & Laity Concerned Schenectady.

Connie Murtagh

Researcher
Connie was the lead researcher on the recent Healthy Building Network investigation of global chlorine and PVC production. She's been a change-making researcher with Coop America, SeaWeb, the Internal Trade Information Service, and Greenpeace. Her research has sparked federal investigations for which corporations have been convicted and fined millions of dollars for environmental crimes. She also deciphered the coding on cans of tuna, which led to "dolphin safe" labels. Connie is the owner of Mohawk Valley Investigations LLC.

Caroline Pryor

Co-Founder, VP
Caroline is an energetic and creative manager and communicator with a successful, 36-year history of initiating, planning, and completing a wide variety of projects, including conservation and affordable housing campaigns. She has facilitated the permanent protection of 64,000 acres in eastern Maine, including 28 coastal islands and 82 projects. She has assisted in securing more than $30 million from public and private sources, and is the co-author of award winning publications. Caroline has served as board president of the Maine League of Conservation Voters, chair of the Mount Desert School Board, and commissioner of the Maine Land Use Regulation Commission.

Jim Vallette

Co-Founder, President
Jim blazes new pathways of research into industrial practices and their worldwide impacts. He has investigated commodities ranging from toxic waste chemicals to tropical timber to ozone-depleting chemicals. From 2005 to 2019, he worked with the Healthy Building Network (HBN). There, he helped to reveal the contents of building and construction materials, from the roof to the foundation. Jim's investigations have helped to catalyze major global victories by non-profit organizations including the Sustainable Economy and Energy Network and Greenpeace. These achievements include the Basel convention ban on toxic waste trade, the World Bank's ban on overseas fossil fuel extraction finance, and, more recently with HBN, the removal of toxic chemicals from building materials.

Frequently Asked Questions

What’s a “low profit” company or L3C?

Low-profit limited liability companies (L3Cs) are for-profit organizations that have charitable and educational missions, by law. Unlike non-profit organizations, L3Cs pay corporate taxes. Nor are contributions to them tax deductible.

L3Cs are social enterprises that can attract hybrid sources of financing, including program related investments from private foundations, while channeling profits back into the organization’s mission.
A Federal Reserve article explains that social enterprises like L3Cs “are seen as straddling the for-profit business sector, which is generally constrained by the duty to generate profits, and the nonprofit sector, which is generally constrained by tax laws and the duty to fulfill social objectives.” From this position, “social enterprises are increasingly seen as filling a void left unaddressed by the traditional public, private, and nonprofit sectors….
“(A)n L3C’s organizing document, called articles of organization, must set forth as its primary business objective ‘one or more charitable or educational purposes,’ as defined by the Internal Revenue Code. In addition, the term ‘low profit’ is embedded in the title of the business form to put investors and philanthropic funders on notice that the entity is motivated first and foremost by its expressed social mission, but not necessarily to the exclusion of making money.”

What does “open access” information mean?

SPARC (the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition explains, “Open Access is the free, immediate, online availability of research articles coupled with the rights to use these articles fully in the digital environment. Open Access ensures that anyone can access and use these results – to turn ideas into industries and breakthroughs into better lives.”

Open Access is the needed modern update for the communication of research that fully utilizes the Internet for what it was originally built to do – accelerate research.

“Funders invest in research to advance human knowledge and ultimately improve lives. Open Access increases the return on that investment by ensuring the results of the research they fund can be read and built on by anyone.

More questions? Reach out and we'll do our best to answer!