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Social Enterprise: A Portrait of the Field

The Social Enterprise Alliance recently partnered with Community Wealth Partners and Duke University’s Center for the Advancement of Social Entrepreneurship to assess the state of social enterprise in the nonprofit sector in the United States and Canada.  The survey effort, which was funded by REDF, was designed to advance the field by identifying trends and best practices among nonprofit organizations engaged in social enterprise activities. For the purposes of the survey, “social enterprise” was defined according to the definition developed by the Social Enterprise Alliance:

“An organization or venture (within an organization) that advances a social mission through market-based strategies.  These strategies include receiving earned income in direct exchange for a product, service or privilege.”

Survey respondents were identified from multiple sources, including the partners’ databases, and represented a broad range of organization types, sizes and geographic locations.  In all, 740 organizations completed the survey.  These included organizations that operate a social enterprise, are considering doing so, or are unfamiliar with social enterprise. In this report, we take a deeper look at the survey results, which were originally released in 2009.  We also present in-depth profiles of six social ventures:

  • Gulf Coast Enterprises Inc. (Pensacola, FL)
  • Triangle Residential Options for Substance Abusers (Durham, NC)
  • Nuestras Raices Inc. (Holyoke, MA)
  • Workforce Inc. (Indianapolis, IN)
  • Eco-Cycle (Boulder, CO)
  • The Magnolia School (Jefferson, LA)

The report can be found here.

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About Community Wealth Partners

At Community Wealth Partners we dream of a world in which all people thrive. To realize this dream, we help change agents solve social problems at the magnitude they exist. As a Share Our Strength organization, we bring the successful practices of one of the nation’s leading anti-hunger, anti-poverty organizations to hundreds of change agents nationwide.

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