Social Enterprise

Second Chances

Second Chances aims to help individuals in recovery develop the skills they need to secure employment and become self-sufficient.  The nonprofit’s program is centered around its social enterprise, Second Chances Cleaning Services, which provides over 110 people a year with on-the-job training.

Chronicling the Lives of the Working Poor Across America

The Leonard Lopate Show

Pulitzer Prize-winning author, journalist and Columbia Journalism School professor Dale Maharidge crossed the country to chronicle the lives of today's working poor, from farmworkers in southern California fighting against low wages and a devastating drought, to heroin stricken communities in northern Maine that have been abandoned by industry. His story, “American Ballad: A Photographic Chronicle of America's Working Poor,” marks the 75th anniversary of James Agee’s Let Us Now Praise Famous Men. It was published in the December issue of Smithsonian Magazine...listen here 

EMERGE Connecticut, Inc.

EMERGE Connecticut, Inc. helps formerly incarcerated people and at-risk youth in the Greater New Haven area return successfully to their families and neighborhoods.  To do so, the social enterprise provides its participants with paid, part-time training in its construction, landscaping, and property management business as well as wrap-around support services.  Since its establishment in 2011, more than 225 people have completed its program.

Social Entrepreneurship in Action: A White Paper Examining Prospects for Program Development

llinois Community Action Development Corporation

 The project scope focused on identifying opportunities, needs and gaps in ICADC’s and to some extent IACAA, IVCA’s programs and services to support earned income and social enterprise development within the network of 40 Community Action Agencies. 

The Emerging Need For Hybrid Entities: Why California Should Become The Delaware Of Social Enterprise Law

Ross Kelley

Recognizing the limitations and restraints posed on socially conscious for-profit organizations, several states have begun to develop a legislative model that blends attributes of traditional for-profit and not-for-profit entities into “hybrid” organizations. Chief among these states is California, which has emerged as a leader of this new social enterprise reform. California is the only state to allow a business to incorporate as a Benefit Corporation or a Flexible Purpose Corporation. Additionally, the state legislature has proposed a third type of hybrid entity—the Low-Profit Limited Liability Company. By addressing the limitations of the traditional corporate structure, California’s new hybrid entities afford directors, founders, and officers not only with increased legal protection, but also promote confidence to pursue social and environmental causes. This Article explains why California is the preferred choice for social enterprises and how an influx of social enterprises could benefit the state. 

Better Futures Minnesota

Established in 2007, Better Futures Minnesota helps men with a history of incarceration, homelessness, poverty, and untreated mental and physical health challenges achieve self-sufficiency.  A core part of its program is its social enterprise, which provides on-the-job training in deconstruction, warehouse safety, appliance recycling, janitorial services, and snow and lawn care equipment training and maintenance.  Materials salvaged through its deconstruction work are sold in its ReUse Warehouse, diverting about 700 tons of building materials a year from area landfills and providing revenue to help support the nonprofit’s outreach and supportive services.  In 2015, the social enterprise employed 72 men.

Cycles for Change

Cycles for Change aims to build a diverse and empowered community of bicyclists in the Twin Cities area.  Its programs include free bicycle repair, trainings to promote bicycle safety and confidence, and youth apprenticeships focused on job training and leadership development.  To fund its programs, it runs two retail shops from which it sells donated and used bikes and offers repair services.

Appetite for Change

Appetite for Change is a community-led organization that uses food to foster health, wealth, and social change in North Minneapolis. Its social enterprises include Kindred Kitchen, which provides affordable, high quality commercial kitchen space and business technical services to small, locally-based food businesses, and Breaking Bread Café and Catering, a restaurant providing training and jobs for community residents.  The nonprofit currently provides jobs or internships to 46 area youth and supports 53 community-owned food start-ups or businesses.

Second Chance

Second Chance is a social enterprise that creates green collar jobs by deconstructing buildings and homes, salvaging usable materials, and selling those materials at its 200,000 square foot retail store.  It uses the revenue generated through such sales to provide job training for Baltimoreans with employment obstacles.  Program graduates are guaranteed associate or supervisory-level positions that pay above-average wages at Second Chance.  In 2015, Second Chance provided training and employment to 180 adults and salvaged materials from 178 structures, diverting more than 1.5 million cubic feet of waste from landfills.


Humanim, a Baltimore-based nonprofit with a mission to provide uncompromising human services to those in need, established its social enterprise division to increase employment opportunities for individuals with severe barriers to work and economic opportunities.  Its social enterprises include Details (a deconstruction and material repurposing business), iScan (scanning and conversion services), and Harbor City Services (moving, shredding, records management, and warehousing services).  In 2016, it launched its latest social enterprise, City Seeds, a 15,000 square‐foot commercial kitchen and bakery.

Herring Run Nursery

Located at a municipally-operated golf course, Herring Run Nursery sells plants natively grown in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed that promote a healthy environment.  Its profits support its parent nonprofit, Blue Water Baltimore, a group aiming to restore the quality of Baltimore’s rivers, streams, and harbor in order to foster a healthy environment, a strong economy, and thriving communities.  In 2014, the nursery sold over 22,000 native plants to more than 1,400 customers, generating roughly 10 percent of the nonprofit’s total $2.5 million in revenues.

2000 Roses/Rose Garden ReMake

Founded in 1999 by two Dallas entrepreneurs, 2000 Roses aims to help women, particularly those recovering from domestic violence or substance abuse, make the transition from incarceration back into the community.  To do so, the nonprofit provides transitional living centers, information, education, and a range of services, and has served about 1,200 women since its inception.  A key part of its program is Rose Garden ReMake, a boutique that sells products crafted by locals (ranging from home décor to artwork to clothing) as well as products handcrafted by the nonprofit’s clients.  Clients not only are taught how to make candles, jewelry and other crafts, but can also work in the boutique to gain entrepreneurial skills and retail experience.

Good-Works Company

Good-Works Company was established by H.I.S. BridgeBuilders, a Christian-based nonprofit working to alleviate poverty, as a way to create meaningful employment and entrepreneurial opportunities in Dallas communities.  Good-Works encompasses two subsidiaries: Bonton Motor-Works, which repairs donated vehicles and sells them at non-predatory prices to community residents, and Bonton Honey, which harvests and sells natural honey grown on the nonprofit’s urban farm. Read more about Good-Works Company...

Café Momentum

Café Momentum helps Dallas’ most at-risk youth achieve their full potential by providing life skills training, education, and employment opportunities.  To do so, the nonprofit runs a culinary training facility and restaurant at which youth who have spent time in juvenile facilities receive intensive culinary, job, and life-skill training, as well as mentorship and support.  Since its establishment in 2011, Café Momentum has supported over 200 Dallas youth. Read more about Café Momentum...

The River Bakery

Launched in 2014 by The River Food Pantry, a nonprofit serving 600 Dane County families a week, The River Bakery provides job training opportunities for the pantry’s clients in an enterprise that produces quality desserts for groceries and other area stores.  In 2014, the bakery had $33,720 in sales and 11 program participants found employment. Read more about The River Bakery...

Life’sWork of Western PA

Based in Pittsburgh, Life’sWork of Western PA seeks to help people with disabilities and other employment barriers achieve independence and dignity through employment opportunities.  Founded in 1927, the nonprofit now serves over 2,000 people a year.  Its Business Services division provides janitorial, mailing, packaging assembly, and distribution services to area businesses, while providing training and employment opportunities for clients.  In 2013, its enterprises earned over $2 million, representing over 40 percent of its total $4.9 million in total revenues.

Idea Foundry’s InterSector Accelerator

Founded in 2012, InterSector Accelerator supports new social enterprise ventures through a twelve- to sixteen-week collaborative process focused on helping entrepreneurs validate their business model, make community connections, and discover market opportunities.  The Accelerator is part of Idea Foundry, a nonprofit innovation acceleration and commercialization organization founded in 2002 that now has 150 companies in its portfolio and is designed to catalyze high-potential, innovation-related jobs in the life sciences, entertainment and education, social enterprise, advanced materials, and water sectors.

Homefull Solutions, LLC

Homefull, a Dayton nonprofit working to end homelessness, established Homefull Solutions to help its clients gain the work experience necessary to secure employment with a livable income.  The social enterprise provides job training in landscaping/lawn care, apartment maintenance, vending machine operations, and micro-farming.  Through a partnership with the City of Dayton’s Southwest Priority Board, its landscaping enterprise also promotes neighborhood revitalization and beautification by providing regular upkeep around foreclosed and abandoned properties.  Farm training is based out of Homefull Micro-Farm, located right outside one of its men’s shelters, and also serves as a means to provide fresh, affordable food to community members who lack fresh food access.