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.
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.
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.
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.
This web site provides an overview of Harvard's “Social Enterprise Initiative,” which began in 1993 and which aims to encourage further growth of social enterprise in the United States over the next decade.
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.
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.
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.
The Chicago Lighthouse was founded in 1906 by a group of women volunteers who were both blind and sighted and offered housing, clothing, and food assistance to people who were blind. In 1977, the nonprofit launched its first social enterprise to provide meaningful employment to its clients while generating new revenues for the organization. Today, Chicago Lighthouse runs several social enterprises, including customer care centers, contract management services, and Chicago Lighthouse Industries, which manufactures products including clocks and calendars. Together, these enterprises provide permanent jobs to over 400 people who are blind, visually impaired, disabled, or Veterans.
The Anixter Center began to operate businesses as a means to provide work skills training to people with disabilities. Today, these businesses include a packaging service and a janitorial company. In recent years, these enterprises have generated over $3 million in annual revenue, equivalent to roughly 10 percent of the nonprofit's total annual income.
Social enterprises are defined in many ways, but typically are nonprofit organizations that operate businesses in order to generate revenues and fulfill their missions. The concept has become increasingly common in the past three decades as a result of a combination of government funding cuts to social programs. Read more about Social Enterprise...
The Massachusetts Avenue Project (MAP) has two core projects — Growing Green, a youth development and urban agriculture program and Food Ventures, a food-based micro-enterprise development program. The Growing Green programs helps low-income, at-risk youth in Buffalo develop life-skills and provide meaningful work on MAP's urban farm. In 2006, Growing Green Works, a youth enterprise run by urban youth on the west side of Buffalo, was founded to sell the organic local made food products to help offset the cost of employment and training of youth year around. Read more about Massachusetts Avenue Project...
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.
Leaders of two of the most successful nonprofit organizations argue that the sector needs to shift its attention from modest goals that provide short-term relief to bold goals that, while harder to achieve, provide long-term solutions by tackling the root of social problems.
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.
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.
While a growing number of institutions are recognizing the need to integrate social, economic, and environmental values into their purchasing decisions, few actually evaluate and measure these values, limiting the uptake of this approach. This new paper from the Carleton Centre for Community Innovation reviews existing social value procurement frameworks, including Cleveland’s Greater University Circle Initiative, and puts forwards common themes and lessons learned. Read the full paper here.
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.
This new paper from KP Advisors puts forth a vision of “impact investing for social equity.” Noting that conventional impact investment strategies still tend to prioritize the needs of investors over the needs of communities, the paper draws on interviews with leaders in the field who are using investments to address the root causes of social and economic inequality. The authors call on investors to shift their expectations with regards to levels of risk, return, and time frame, and to better involve local communities in the decision-making process:
In these eight case studies, REDF (a California-based nonprofit, has led the pioneering effort to create jobs and employment opportunities for people facing the greatest barriers to work) highlights the work of social enterprise leaders around the country. By surveying groups such as the Evergreen Cooperatives in Cleveland, Ohio, REDF showcases the principal drivers of achieving scale and success, and paving the way towards a more inclusive economy.