California has always been the home of innovation, from Walt Disney to Apple Computers. Since the beginning of the new century, it’s also been an incubator for social enterprises, thanks in part to two legally-sanctioned types of social enterprise structure.
Here are a few of the most exciting social enterprises in California, making a difference in the fight against poverty, to improve access to health care, and in protecting the environment.
(Click the infographic to enlarge.)
The Top 8 California Social Enterprises
- Founded: 1984
- Mission: Help homeless individuals attain self-sufficiency through employment and community engagement
- Successes: Has moved over 500 clients into work each year
- Website: http://www.changelives.org/
- Founded: 2006
- Mission: Promote healthier eating through providing better school lunches, ready-to-eat home meal kits, and nutrition education programs. Invests 1% of profit in equipping schools to provide better meals.
- Successes: Serves food to schools in 17 states and Safeway, Publix, and Wal-Mart stores
- Website: http://revolutionfoods.com/
- Founded: 2005
- Mission: Support and promote ecologically responsible and sustainable fishing by connecting producers and consumers
- Successes: Now a premium supplier to famous restaurants, recognized by Time, Bloomberg, and other media outlets as an exceptional socially responsible business
- Website: http://www.cleanfish.com/
- Founded: 2006
- Mission: Contribute to poverty alleviation through reinvestment and donation – began with the “One for One” campaign that donated a pair of shoes to the poor for each pair purchased
- Successes: Hit 10 million shoes given away by 2013. Now provides shoes, eye care, access to clean water, and health care through reinvestment and support of its Giving Partners.
- Website: http://www.toms.com/
- Founded: 2005
- Mission: Support water conservation through sale of smart sprinkler and irrigation solutions. Profits are reinvested in conservation programs.
- Successes: Named an EPA WaterSense Partner—the first irrigation company to earn such recognition
- Website: http://www.cyber-rain.com/index.html
Abacus Wealth Partners
- Founded: 1999
- Mission: Put money to work for the benefit of others through reinvestment.
- Successes: Investments under management crossed the $1 billion mark, reinvested more than $30 million in socially responsible businesses, and provides pro bono financial advice
- Website: https://abacuswealth.com/
SIRUM (Supporting Initiatives to Redistribute Unused Medicine)
- Founded: 2009
- Mission: Rescue unused medicines from healthcare systems and redistribute to clinics that serve low-income patients, reducing waste.
- Successes: 200 partners working with the program in California and Colorado, plus funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (among others)
- Website: http://www.sirum.org/
Delancey Street Foundation
- Founded: 1971
- Mission: As stated on their website, they are country’s leading residential self-help organization for former substance abusers, ex-convicts, and more.
- Successes: They’ve guided tens of thousands of people towards a high school equivalent degree and away from street violence.
- Website: http://www.delanceystreetfoundation.org