Social Enterprise

Clovernook Center for the Blind and Disabled

Clovernook Manufacturing Centers in Cincinnati, Ohio and Memphis, Tennessee, employ more than 140 people who are blind or visually impaired. These employees contribute 75 percent of the total direct labor at the two production facilities. Clovernook's business operations, which annually generate more than $6.7 million in revenue, are categorized into three departments – Braille Printing, Paper Products and Contract Manufacturing. Read more about Clovernook Center for the Blind and Disabled...

Arc of Hilo

Working with individuals who have developmental or other disabilities in Hawaii, the Arc of Hilo strives to improve their quality of life through training, employment, and residential opportunities. Benefiting 230 clients and employing more than 80 people in its Employment Training Service programs, the Arc of Hilo generates 49 percent of its revenue stream from business service contracts and fundraising, up from 25 percent just five years ago, significantly reducing its dependence on government support. Read more about Arc of Hilo...

Growing Home

Growing Home is a Chicago-based organic agriculture business that provides farm-based training to people with employment barriers and access to healthy foods for residents of Southside Chicago’s Englewood community.  In 2016, Growing Home provided job training to 52 people, harvested over 35,100 pounds of organic produce, and operated 38 farm stands through which it sold reduced price produce to Englewood residents.


Located in lower Manhattan and started by former workers of a World Trade Center restaurant in 2006, COLORS is a nonprofit-owned social enterprise, run by the Restaurant Opportunities Center which provides living wage jobs and professional development training for workers, while serving customers healthy gluten-free food. Read more about Colors...

NPower New York (Manhattan)

NPower NY began offering services in the spring of 2001 and is the second oldest and the largest affiliate in the NPower Network, a national network of local nonprofits that help other nonprofits use technology to better serve their communities. In addition to training disadvantaged workers to provide computer services to other charities, NPower fulfills a second mission of giving the workers job skills and paid employment through its information technology service social enterprise business. Read more about NPower New York (Manhattan)...

Housing Works

Housing Works aims to end the dual crises of homelessness and AIDS through advocacy, service provision, and entrepreneurial businesses that sustain its efforts. Since its establishment in 1990, it has housed and/or provided services to over 20,000 people. Its job training and placement program which uses social enterprises including supportive housing apartment rentals, a bookstore and a thrift shop to underwrite the group's programs and help clients achieve self-sufficiency, earned about 40 percent of its revenues (more than $22 million) from its businesses in 2013. Read more about Housing Works...

YAYA (Young Aspirations Young Artists)

Founded in 1988, YAYA aims to empower creative young people to become successful adults.  To do so, YAYA provides educational experiences in the arts and entrepreneurship to New Orleans-area children and youth. Read more about YAYA (Young Aspirations Young Artists)...

Reconcile New Orleans

Focused on addressing the system of generational poverty, violence and neglect in the New Orleans area, Reconcile New Orleans offers youth ages 16-22 from at-risk communities life skills and job training programs so they can make positive changes in their lives.  Opened in 2000, its nonprofit restaurant, Café Reconcile, provides culinary training, and following Katrina, the nonprofit added a construction program to create additional training opportunities and help the rebuilding effort.  Located in the Central City neighborhood, Reconcile New Orleans has graduated more than 1,000 young peop Read more about Reconcile New Orleans...

Minnesota Diversified Industries

Over the past five decades, St. Paul-based Minnesota Diversified Industries (MDI) has employed a social enterprise model to assist people with disabilities and disadvantages by offering progressive development and job opportunities. Headquartered in the Twin Cities with three additional locations across Minnesota, the nonprofit provides standard and custom packaging solutions, production and fulfillment services, and environmental services for business customers.  As of the end of 2015, MDI employed over 650 workers (43 percent of whom were people with disabilities) and had gross revenues of over $45 million (nearly 99 percent coming from business sales).  Employees work an average of 30 hours per week, earning $9.88 an hour.

Urban Ventures Leadership Foundation

Urban Ventures aims to close the gaps that perpetuate urban poverty.  A key part of its approach are social enterprises, which it uses to provide education and training to youth and families, as well as to generate revenues to fund its youth and family focused programs/services.  Its five social enterprises include CityKid Greenway Café, which sells beverages and affordable produce, and provides free summer meals to children; CityKid Mobile Market, which sells subsidized fresh, pesticide-free produce in food deserts; CityKid Java, which sells coffee to area businesses and organizations; CityKid Farms, which grows and sells fresh produce; and CityKid Honey, which produces raw, local honey.


Founded in 1995, Emerge is place-based nonprofit focused on helping people in Minneapolis and Cedar Riverside who are facing significant obstacles to find a career pathway and achieve financial stability.  A core part of its long-standing programming has been EmergeWorks, a social enterprise that provides staffing services to businesses in the Twin Cities.  In 2015, Emerge merged with Momentum Enterprises, which brought three new social enterprises to the nonprofit:  Second Chance Recycling, which recycles mattresses, box springs, batteries, and medical blue wrap; Custom Manufacturing, which performs assembly, packaging, and wood fabrication work; and Furnish Office and Home, a nonprofit retail store in Northeast Minneapolis that sells office and home furnishings. In 2015, the four enterprises employed 88 people.

Clovernook Center for the Blind and Disabled

Founded in 1903 as a residence for blind women, the Center currently provides over 15,000 sight-impaired people annually with training and support for independent living, orientation and mobility instruction, vocational training, job placement, counseling, recreation and youth services. They are also a manufacturing center for pressboard and manila file folder products, which provides employment opportunities for the blind and visually impaired. Read more about Clovernook Center for the Blind and Disabled...

Transformative Action Institute

The Transformative Action Institute is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to develop a new generation of social entrepreneurs and problem-solvers. To do so, it develops innovative activities, exercises, and seminars focused on teaching the skills necessary to foster personal and social transformation.  One such tool is its Teacher’s Manual—a curriculum in Social Innovation that has been used by more than 50 universities around the world as well as dozens of community-based organizations. Read more about Transformative Action Institute...


Chrysalis helps economically disadvantaged and homeless individuals become self-sufficient through employment opportunities. To this end, Chrysalis runs Chrysalis Enterprises, an in-house staffing business that provides street and building maintenance, janitorial, warehouse, front desk and general staffing solutions to over 100 communities and businesses across L.A. County.  In 2013, Chrysalis Enterprises provided $2.7 in wages to over 500 of its clients. Read more about Chrysalis...

Triangle Residential Options for Substance Abusers

Founded in 1994, Triangle Residential Options for Substance Abusers (TROSA) is a substance abuse, residential treatment facility that supports more than 500 recovering individuals on a daily basis.  A core part of TROSA’s program is its social enterprises, which provide work-based vocational training to its residents while generating about 70 percent of the nonprofit’s total revenues.  TROSA’s social enterprises include a moving company (which has grown into the largest independent mover in the Triangle region), a lawn care maintenance enterprise, a thrift store, and a Christmas tree business.

Belay Enterprises

Belay Enterprises was started in 1994 by a group of local businessmen, community leaders, and pastors who wanted to make a difference for the urban community.  Out of their vision grew Bud’s Warehouse, a home improvement thrift store selling donated and recycled building materials that also provides career and life-skills training for individuals seeking to rebuild their lives.  With the profits from Bud’s Warehouse, the nonprofit has been able to incubate several other businesses, several of which have been spun off after reaching self-sufficiency.  Current ventures being pursued by Belay Enterprises include Purple Door Coffee, a coffee shop that provides supportive employment to teens and young adults facing homeless, and New Beginnings Custom Woodworks, a cabinet manufacturing enterprise that provides training and employment to those who have experienced prison, addiction, or homelessness.

Pearl Interactive Network, LLC

The Pearl Interactive Network (PIN) is a social enterprise founded in 1995 with a focus on the workforce of disabled veteran, people with disabilities and people living in geographically challenged areas. PIN has over 3,000 candidate referral sources in their network. PIN is one of the recipients of the Ohio Social Entrepreneur 2010 award. Read more about Pearl Interactive Network, LLC...

New Directions Career Center

The New Direction Career Center (NDCC) was founded in 1980, and provides career counseling to individuals to achieve financial stability. NDCC generates annual revenue of just under $700,000 and net assets of over $200,000. NDCC has worked with over 60,000 people in Columbus and has helped over 70% of their clients enter employment, additional training or education. In 2010, they helped 635 job seekers through the “Hands on Help” program in a partnership with the Columbus Metropolitan Libraries. NDCC is one of the recipients of the Ohio Social Entrepreneur 2010 award. Read more about New Directions Career Center...

The Durable Slate Company

The Durable Slate Company, founded in 2003, renovates and installs roofing in an old world style that is desired by many of their clients, including churches, government buildings and museums. Their headquarters are in Columbus. Their most recent project includes the roof renovation of a symbolic bell tower at the 100-year-old historic Main Building at Olney Friends School. The Durable Slate Company is one of the recipients of the Ohio Social Entrepreneur 2010 award. Read more about The Durable Slate Company...

Social Enterprise

Association for Research on Nonprofit Organizations and Voluntary Action

Founded in 1971 as the Association of Voluntary Action Scholars, the Association for Research on Nonprofit Organizations and Voluntary Action (ARNOVA) is committed to strengthening the research community in the emerging field of nonprofit and philanthropic studies. ARNOVA publishes the Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly. Abstracts of published articles are available on line.

Blended Value Map

Blended Value.Org is a web site that contains a research report that looks at a variety of different enterprises, including social enterprises that seek to “blend,” in one form or another, social, financial and sometimes also environmental benefits in their work.

BTW Consultants, Inc.

Founded in 1998, BTW is a consulting firm that has done program evaluations of a number of social enterprises around the country, with a focus on developing effective measures for “double bottom line” ventures of social returns. A number of reports regarding social enterprises the firm has evaluated are available for free download on its website.

CASE Studies Database—Scaling Social Impact

With this website, CASE aims to help catalogue, coordinate, and contribute to the body of knowledge around scaling social impact, with a special focus on the social entrepreneurs and social enterprise funding communities. The site includes a case study database that lists over 160 studies and is designed to help social entrepreneurs, practitioners, researchers, educators, and students find and access case studies about scaling social impact.

Center for the Advancement of Social Entrepreneurship (CASE, Duke)

Founded in 2002, and led by Greg Dees, a pioneer in the field, CASE is one of a select number of university programs dedicated to conducting teaching, education, and research about social enterprise. publishes an electronic journal highlighting social enterprise practices. Previous issues are available on line going back to 1998. Articles are also organized by topic.

Origo Fourth Sector News

Origo Fourth Sector News is a new clipping service that documents the latest thinking and events relating to social enterprise.

REDF (Roberts Enterprise Development Fund)

The Roberts Enterprise Development Fund provides technical assistance and philanthropic investments to help nonprofit organizations in the San Francisco area attain marketplace sustainability in their enterprise ventures. REDF also works with organizations across the U.S. that use nonprofit enterprise strategies.

Research Initiative on Social Enterpreneurship (Columbia)

RISE is a research project at Columbia University that has issued a number of reports, available on its web site, concerning impact measurement and the “double bottom line” of social and economic returns sought by practitioners in the social enterprise sector. The web site also maintains a directory of social venture funders that make equity investments in social ventures.

Root Cause

Root Cause addresses social problems through strategy consulting, knowledge sharing, social impact research, and the building of sustainable social enterprises. The website contains a wide range of articles regarding social enterprise and related public policy, as well as samples of the group's consulting work with social enterprises.

Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship

Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship identifies social entrepreneurs and engages them in shaping global, regional and industry agendas that improve the state of the world in close collaboration with the other stakeholders of the World Economic Forum. To date, over 190 social entrepreneuers form a part of the Schwab Foundation community.

Stanford Social Innovation Review

Founded in 2003, Stanford's Social Innovation Review provides a host of articles regarding developments in social enterprise and the non-profit world.

The Chronicle of Philanthropy

The Chronicle of Philanthropy is a leading journal in the non-profit world, tracking both developments in social enterprise as well as broader issues affecting non-profits in the United States today.