Social Enterprise

Academies for Social Entrepreneurship

Academies for Social Entrepreneurship’s programs focus on equipping not-for-profit executives with the resources they need to build high performing earned income ventures. In the past five years, ASE has produced twenty regional social enterprise “Academies” and three social innovation “fast pitches”. Read more about Academies for Social Entrepreneurship...

Vocational Guidance Services (VGS)

Headquartered in Cleveland, Vocational Guidance Services (VGS) is a nonprofit that provides a comprehensive range of free vocational rehabilitation services to nearly 5,000 individuals with barriers to employment on an annual basis.  Social enterprises, through which clients gain on-the-job experience, are a key part of its approach.  Operating in a variety of industries including custodial, sewing, packing/assembly, machining/inspection, and food services, VGS’ social enterprises are credited with employing more than 1,500 people and paying more than $9 million in wages a year.

Bridgeport Café

Launched in 2012 by Burten, Bell, Carr Development (BBC) in an effort to create a healthy alternative to traditional fast-food establishments that are overly prevalent in the neighborhood, Bridgeport Café serves a variety of healthy foods and sells fresh, locally-grown produce directly to area residents.  The Café is located in CornUcopia Place, a community facility also developed by BBC that offers nutrition education, cooking demonstrations, a harvest preparation station for local market gardeners, and space to the community on a rental basis.  In 2013, the Café began a food truck program, known as the Mobile Market, which circulates through the community to ensure as many residents as possible can access fresh produce.

The Power of Impact Investing

Margot Brandenburg and Judith Rodin
Wharton Digital Press

In this new book, Rockefeller Foundation president Judith Rodin and Nathans Cummings Fellow Margot Brandenburg make the case for impact investing as an alternative to traditional investing and philanthropy. Intended as a primer for retail investors, high-net-worth individuals, foundations, and others wishing to broaden the social and environmental impact of their investments, the book highlights opportunities to invest for social good around the world.  

The New Nonprofit IPO

Andy Posner and Mollie West
Stanford Social Innovation Review

Building the Blue Economy

Sam Magavern, Tina Meyers, Jen Kaminsky and Sarah Maurer

This report from PUSH Buffalo and The Partnership for the Public Good identifies sources of funding and advocacy strategies to advance green infrastructure social enterprises. Intended for community-based organizations, policy makers, and funders interested in the intersection of sustainability, neighborhood redevelopment, and job creation, the guide offers ten case studies of green infrastructure social enterprises, including an in depth overview of PUSH Blue’s stormwater management projects.

Richmond Entrepreneur's Assistance Program

People with Disabilities take ten times longer to get a job than their non-disabled counterparts. They are also more than three times as likely to be unemployed. To offset these trends, Richmond Entrepreneur's Assistance Program (REAP) was created. The program prepares disabled persons to be successfully employed in above entry-level positions. Participants learn inventory management and timekeeping, and get on the job experience through the program’s businesses, Heart to Heart Gift Baskets & Packaging, RVA Shops, Personal Chef Catering, and New 2 U Sports. 

Boaz & Ruth

In 2006, Boaz & Ruth renovated a historic fire station for use as a retail/business incubator in Highland Park, which they named Fire House 15 Shops & Restaurant. As Highland Park has some of the highest concentrations of ex-offenders in Richmond, the renovation provided a critical opportunity for Boaz & Ruth to train and employ formerly incarcerated men. Boaz & Ruth has established several social enterprises, including Sunny Days Clothing Thrift, Job Connection, Harvest Furniture Thrift Store, Mountain Movers, B&R Estate Sale Services, Fire House 15 Restaurant, and Fire House 15 Catering. One of its most successful businesses, Cathedral Construction, has given men and women learning and work opportunities in specialized restoration.

Rethinking Community Economic Development Beyond “Rent or Own”

Changing the ownership picture to build community wealth

Crossposted from Rooflines: The Shelterforce Blog

Although the notion of building wealth through home ownership has taken a beating in recent years due to the Great Recession, ownership more broadly is still seen as a key factor in building wealth. So says the Greenlining Institute. So finds a recent study authored by Thomas Shapiro and colleagues at Brandeis University’s Institute on Assets and Social Policy. Even the Housing and Economic Development Commission of the National Baptist Convention agrees.

Creating Jobs by Building Community Wealth

Our research director Steve Dubb is joined by REDF's Carla Javits  for a conversation around "Big Ideas for Job Creation" at the Aspen Institute, focusing on transforming anchor institution procurement to strengthen local economies and using social enterprise to create employment opportunities.

Read more about Creating Jobs by Building Community Wealth...

Growing a Cleveland Renaissance

Stephen A. Thompson
Rural Cooperatives

In the November/December edition of Rural Cooperatives magazine, the United States Department of Agriculture featured Green City Growers Cooperative, the third worker-owned enterprise established by the Evergreen Cooperatives. The article highlights how Green City Growers created twenty-five jobs while transforming eleven acres of abandoned lots into a productive urban greenhouse. The article also provides insight for how cooperatives can partner with city governments, anchor institutions, and foundations to stabilize local economies. 

Rey España

This month we interview Rey España, Director of Community Development at the Native American Youth and Family Center (NAYA), one of the largest and most successful urban Native American centers in the nation. In the past decade at NAYA, España has helped launch a number of projects, including an individual development account program, an affordable housing portfolio, a private high school serving Portland’s Native American community, and two social enterprises. NAYA is now looking to develop a Community Development Financial Institution to provide loan assistance for NAYA’s microenterprises.

Social Innovation From the Inside Out

Warren Nilsson and Tana Paddock
Stanford Social Innovation Review