Social Enterprise

Coffee with Conscience

Owned and managed by the Wisconsin Women’s Business Initiative Corporation (WWBIC), which provides business/financial education and access to fair capital to Wisconsin residents, Coffee with Conscience is a social enterprise that sells organic, fair-trade coffee and baked goods prepared by WWBIC clients in its two Milwaukee-based cafes. The enterprises’ revenues support 18 percent of WWBIC’s annual work. Read more about Coffee with Conscience...

Humboldt Construction Company

Created by Bikerdike Redevelopment Corporation to ensure its development work could create skilled job opportunities for community residents, Humboldt Construction Company is a social enterprise that serves as a full-service, general contractor and carpentry subcontractor specializing in residential and commercial construction, value engineering, and project planning and management.  Since its start in 1981, Humboldt has employed and trained over 100 local residents in living-wage union jobs.  The enterprise’s work, totaling $100 million in rehab and new construction projects, has created over 1,000 housing units in over 150 buildings, two transitional group homes, a community cultural center, a grocery store, and other retail space.  Moreover, through subcontracting relationships and the use of local suppliers, Humboldt helps sustain hundreds of additional living wage jobs and keeps money re-circulating in the community.

Whole Home

Whole Home is a social enterprise that provides home modification services to aging Cincinnati residents so that they can remain safely in their homes. All enterprise revenues are funneled into its parent nonprofit, People Working Cooperatively (PWC), which provides home repair, weatherization, modification, and maintenance services to low-income elderly and disabled homeowners in the Greater Cincinnati area. Since its establishment in 1975, PWC has provided services to more than 250,000 people.   Read more about Whole Home...

Green Recycling Works (GRW)

Launched in 2011, Green Recycling Works (GRW) is a social enterprise designed to provide transitional employment opportunities for graduates of City Gospel Mission’s resident drug treatment programs, generate revenues for the Mission, and improve Cincinnati’s physical environment. GRW generates revenues by contracting with companies that have recyclables they cannot handle and then by breaking down and packaging materials that cannot be resold. In addition to creating about 10 jobs, GRW diverts 200 tons of cardboard and 12 trailers of paper from area landfills each year. Read more about Green Recycling Works (GRW)...

Building Value

Building Value salvages reusable building materials destined for the landfill and resells them to the public. Founded in 2004 by the nonprofit Easter Seals Tristate to create new job training opportunities for its disabled clients and generate additional revenues, the enterprise to date has completed over 100 deconstructions, salvaged more than 5,000 tons of reusable building materials, and provided on-the-job training in retail and construction to over 150 individuals. Read more about Building Value...

Slow Living Summit 2015

June 3rd, 2015 to June 5th, 2015
Brattleboro, VT

The Asset Learning Conference

September 19th, 2014
Washington, DC

Research Director Steve Dubb and Research Associate Sarah McKinley will moderate a panel on community wealth building in Native American communities. Read more about The Asset Learning Conference...

Indian Country the Site of New Developments in Community Wealth Building

Five projects seek to launch social enterprises and employee-owned business in Native American communities
Indian Country is the site of some exciting new work taking shape in social enterprise and employee ownership. Five Native American projects are being developed as part of an initiative managed by The Democracy Collaborative and funded by the Northwest Area Foundation, known as the Learning/Action Lab for Community Wealth Building.

The New Barnraising

Gareth Potts
German Marshall Fund of the United States

This new toolkit from the German Marshall Fund offers policies and practices to empower communities to preserve civic assets such as public parks, libraries, and recreation centers in the face of public and private resource constraints. Based on research conducted in Detroit, Minneapolis/St. Paul, and Baltimore, the guide offers a range of strategies to raise money, awareness, and community involvement for the preservation of community assets.

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.