Archive for the ‘Social Enterprise’ Category

WEEKLY NEWS DIGEST (September 15-21, 2014)

Tuesday, September 23rd, 2014


University of California Plans Venture-Capital Fund for Campus Startups; Investment Pool, at $250 Million, Would Be Among Biggest Targeted for Student, Faculty Research.” By Erica E. Phillips. Wall Street Journal. September 15, 2014.

WEEKLY NEWS DIGEST (December 2-8, 2013)

Monday, December 9th, 2013


Non-profit CEO explains entrepreneurship through punk music.” By Abigail Bessler. Yale Daily News. December 6, 2013.

WEEKLY NEWS DIGEST (February 4-10, 2013)

Monday, February 11th, 2013


Borough chambers unite to speak for the little guys; Nonprofit hopes to be a Partnership for NYC-type group for small businesses.” By Chris Bragg. Crain’s New York Business. February 3, 2013. Tired of depending on deep-pocketed big-business interests to fund their legislative fights, New York City’s small business leaders are looking to strike out on their own. The heads of New York City’s five borough chambers of commerce met on Feb. 1 to plot the formation of a new, issue-based advocacy group that they hope will be the small business equivalent of the Partnership for New York City. The nonprofit will be the 501(c)4 arm of the Five Borough Chamber Alliance, which was formed in 2009 to fight against a union-backed push for mandated paid-sick-leave legislation. Its lobbying may include everything from running advertisements to holding 2013 mayoral forums pinning down pledges from candidates on particular small business issues, Mr. Friedman said. It will be administered by the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce, according to Mr. Friedman, and will push issues of common interest among the five borough chambers’ members. The agenda is likely to include opposition to paid sick leave, as well as regulatory reform and small businesses’ budget priorities in the city budget. But the group won’t touch issues of potential disagreement, such as congestion pricing, and does not plan to make endorsements.

WEEKLY NEWS DIGEST (January 21-27, 2013)

Monday, January 28th, 2013


Panera opens nonprofit Hub cafe; Customers pay what they can afford here.” By Alyssa Edes. Boston Globe. January 24, 2013. Jonathan Diotalevi wasn’t sure what to expect when he walked into Panera Cares near Government Center on Wednesday, the restaurant’s first day of business. The recent UMass Dartmouth graduate said he doesn’t have a lot of cash and was just looking for a cheap lunch. A smiling employee greeted Diotalevi at the door, he waited in line, -ordered a tomato- mozzarella panini, and then asked the clerk, “So, can I, like, just give you two bucks?” Yes, he could. And he did, dropping the money into a nearby donation bin. The restaurant at 3 Center Plaza may have been as busy at lunch time as any of the chains’s other cafes nationwide — more than 1,600 of them — but there’s a reason cochief executive Ron Saich calls this one “a test of human nature.” The nonprofit outpost of Panera Bread Co. doesn’t have any cash registers, or set prices. Instead, it depends on donations from customers who pay whatever they can afford. The Government Center shop is the fifth of its kind for the St. Louis-based company — the first in this region. “I think it’s awesome because it’s obviously beneficial for people who are a little less fortunate,” said customer Yanick Belzile of Lowell. “We can ¬afford to, so we put in a little bit extra. If we can help someone else who can’t pay for a meal, why not?” Belzile said he donated about $3 more than the suggested donation, or regular retail price, for half a chipotle chicken sandwich and a cup of broccoli-cheddar soup. That kind of payment is typical, especially when a cafe first opens, according to Boston Panera Cares project manager Kate Antonacci. “For the first week or so, we get total donations above retail value, between 105 and 106 percent,” she said. “That number goes down after the first two weeks and levels out to about 65 to 70 percent of retail value, with 20 percent of customers giving more than the suggested donation.” “People think food insecurity, or hunger, means homeless people, but the fact is only 10 percent of people experiencing food insecurity are actually homeless,” she said. About one out of every six Americans, or about 50 million, are “food insecure” or have trouble coming up with enough money to buy food, according to the US Department of Agriculture. Saich said the Panera Cares experiment is helping counter some of the cynicism he sees in a lot of people. “The truth is, when given the chance, most people will do the right thing,” he said.

WEEKLY NEWS DIGEST (December 24-30, 2012)

Monday, December 31st, 2012


Panera Cares, nonprofit outpost of chain, to open soon.” By Jenn Abelson. Boston Globe. December 25, 2012. Panera Cares Community Cafe, a nonprofit outpost of the national bakery and sandwich chain, is set to open in Boston in January. There is no cash register at the Panera cafe near ¬Government Center in Boston. There are no prices either — just suggested donations and bins to leave money, if you can afford to. This is Panera Cares Community Cafe, a nonprofit outpost of the national bakery and sandwich chain that is set to open in Boston in January. The idea, according to Panera founder and co-chief executive Ron -Shaich, is to provide a place where everyone can eat with dignity, regardless of their ability to pay for a meal. The restaurant, at 3 Center Plaza, is the first of its kind in Boston¬ and only the fifth for the company. In other states, including Oregon and Missouri, Panera converted existing Panera Bread shops into Panera Cares cafes. In Massachusetts, executives decided to build from the ground up in a prime location — across fromCity Hall and around the corner from the New England Center for Homeless Veterans. “Nobody thought this could be done. I love figuring it out and seeing how it could work,” Shaich said in a recent interview at the 3 Center Plaza cafe. “It’s a powerful study of humanity — will people do the right thing?” So far, at other cafes people are doing just that. The nonprofit restaurants bring in 70 to 75 percent of the retail value of the food served, said Kate Antonacci, project manager of Panera Cares, which is run by Panera Bread Foundation, a charitable organization. To achieve that, it’s estimated 60 percent of patrons give the suggested donation (the full price charged for food at other Paneras), roughly 20 percent offer more money, and another 20 percent leave less, or nothing at all.

WEEKLY NEWS DIGEST (December 17-23, 2012)

Monday, December 24th, 2012


Foundation Seeks Focus on Business in 2013 Race.” By David W. Chen. New York Times. December 19, 2012. For months New York City business executives and civic leaders have fretted about a possible change in the direction of local government after one of their biggest boosters, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, leaves office at the end of 2013. Now, one notable group, the Rockefeller Foundation, has decided it cannot sit on the sidelines. The foundation announced on Wednesday that it would award the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce a $100,000 grant to come up with ways to compel the candidates in next year’s race for mayor to pay more attention to business issues. The chamber will consider asking the candidates to sign a “bill of rights” for small businesses, based on an assessment of employers’ needs. It will also discuss hosting Democratic and Republican campaign forums at which candidates would be asked to address business concerns. The Rockefeller Foundation, a nonprofit group, does not engage in overt political activity, but it hopes the grant to the Chamber of Commerce will draw attention to business issues and help influence the discussion in a wide-open mayor’s contest that has been dominated, thus far, by Democrats who have not always been friendly to business. The tone of the race could also change if Joseph J. Lhota, the chairman of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, steps into the campaign as a Republican. Neither the foundation nor the chamber could recall another instance in which a major institution had offered a grant aimed at influencing a municipal election.

WEEKLY NEWS DIGEST (August 6-12, 2012)

Monday, August 13th, 2012


Union-Based Bank Draws Democrats.” By Brody Mullins and Peter Nicholas. Wall Street Journal. August 10, 2012. Some prominent Democratic and progressive organizations are scaling back financial ties with Bank of America Corp. BAC +0.26% and switching accounts to the nation’s largest union-owned financial-services firm. The latest convert is the Democratic National Committee, which is set to announce in the next few days that it is moving some of its banking business to union-owned Amalgamated Bank after years of working with Bank of America, a Democratic Party official said. People involved in the switch said that the DNC intends to move all its business to Amalgamated but that the process wouldn’t be completed until after the election. The party official declined to discuss reasons for the move. President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign is continuing to use Bank of America for its finances, as it did in his 2008 presidential run. An Obama campaign official said few banks in the country were both interested in the managing the account and able to meet the needs of an operation that takes in and spends large sums of money in quick bursts. The official said the decision to use Bank of America is “nonideological—it’s who can provide the best service.” Bank of America is based in Charlotte, N.C., and has helped pay for the city to play host to the Democratic National Convention next month. The switch creates tension within the Democratic Party, potentially putting more pressure on the Obama campaign to end its dealings with Bank of America. Mr. Obama’s rhetoric toward the financial sector has been harsh. In 2009 he spoke derisively of “fat cat bankers,” and has long presented himself as the champion of middle-class interests.

WEEKLY NEWS DIGEST (June 18-24, 2012)

Monday, June 25th, 2012


Job landscape changes spark new hybrid between corporate and non-profit worlds; Is the question of whether it’s possible to do good while making a profit a thing of the past?” By Emi Kolawole. Washington Post. June 19, 2012. The for- and non-profit landscapes are merging to create a new class of organization leader. Generally called social entrepreneurs, these individuals leverage for-profit models to solve some of the world’s most in­trac­table problems — endeavors usually undertaken by traditional non-profits. “One of the reasons that I think there’s a coming together of the for-profit fairly hard-nosed commercial world with this world of social innovation and social purpose is because people’s lives have been bifurcated between those two worlds,” said David Hodgson. Hodgson is managing director of the private equity firm General Atlantic and chairman of the board of Echoing Green — a non-profit with the goal of providing funding and support for emerging social entrepreneurs. What Millennials want from the workplace:?When it comes to life on the job, Millennials, who are slated to become half of the workforce in a matter of years, have markedly different goals from their parents. These include a demand for greater social responsibility on the part of their employers. “Because of the way work has changed, because of the number of people who find themselves in families working their tail off all the time,” Hodgson said, “I think there’s been a growing interest in trying to bring your work life together with your social community life.”

WEEKLY NEWS DIGEST (June 11-17, 2012)

Monday, June 18th, 2012


“Venture-Capital Philanthropy Is Hardly a Good Idea.” By Paul Streckfus. Wall Street Journal. June 10, 2012. [For story, go to Philanthropy].

WEEKLY NEWS DIGEST (January 2-8, 2012)

Monday, January 9th, 2012


Sseko Designs fashions a footwear business, based in Portland and Uganda, to lift women out of poverty.” By Katy Muldoon. The Oregonian. January 7, 2012. She couldn’t stomach life in the corporate churn, and figured traveling for four-plus months through one of the world’s poorest countries might change her for the better. What Forkin didn’t foresee in 2008 was how she would change Uganda Today, she and her husband, Ben Bohannon, operate what they call their “not-just-for-profit” enterprise, Sseko Designs, Uganda’s largest footwear exporter. It makes unusually versatile, handcrafted sandals sold through about 100 retailers and online globally. Profits pay for academically promising but financially stressed Ugandan women to attend college while boosting that east African country’s turbulent economy. Ultimately, the Bohannons hope Sseko — pronounced say-ko and derived from the Lugandan word for laughter — will help end the cycle of poverty prevalent in east Africa, particularly among women, and boost them toward professional careers and leadership roles.