Social Enterprise

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.

PowerNet of Dayton

Founded in 2002, PowerNet of Dayton aims to improve Dayton neighborhoods by facilitating the social, economic, and political re-integration of formerly incarcerated members of the community and other citizens with felony records.  Key components of PowerNet’s program are social enterprises, which provide program participants with training and paid employment in repair and maintenance, grounds keeping, and janitorial industries.  Since 2009, PowerNet is credited with providing services to over 1,000 people.


Founded in Burlington in 1991, ReSource’s mission is to meet community and individual needs through (1) education and job skills training, (2) environmental stewardship, and (3) economic opportunities.  The nonprofit now operates four retail shops, which re-sell repaired household items and building materials that otherwise would have gone to the dump, and donates items to low-income individuals.  Through this work, it trains and provides job opportunities to disadvantaged youth and individuals who are homeless or unemployed, receive public assistance, or struggle with barriers to employment.  As of 2015, the nonprofit has trained over 750 individuals, donated goods to over 10,000 low-income people, and diverted more than 10,000 tons of materials from the landfill.

Good News Garage (GNG)

Good News Garage (GNG) is full-service Burlington-based garage that repairs cars and performs general car maintenance.  Revenues generated support GNG’s car donation program, which aims to create economic opportunity by repairing and then providing donated cars to people in need.  Since its establishment in 1996, GNG has awarded more than 4,000 reliable vehicles to individuals in the New England area.

Broad-Based Ownership Models as Tools for Job Creation and Community Development

Marjorie Kelly, Steve Dubb and Violeta Duncan

As cities wrestle with the growing challenge of wealth inequality, more and more leaders are looking to broad-based ownership models as tools to create jobs and build community wealth. These models are highly effective, with a positive impact for low- and moderate-income individuals and communities. This report looks at six such models—ESOPs, Worker Cooperatives, CDFIs, Social Enterprises, Municipal Ownership, and Emerging Hybrids—with examples of best practices, and explores how these models can be used in community economic development.