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Re: favorite NPO/NGO ventures

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  • Rolfe Larson
    Here are the responses to the following question from Drew Tulchin: A socially motivated business is looking for models where NGOs owned businesses,
    Message 1 of 1 , Sep 1, 2011
      Here are the responses to the following question from Drew Tulchin:

      "A socially motivated business is looking for models where NGOs owned businesses, particularly if they had national reach or achieved significant scale. Tom’s Shoes and Greyston Bakery come to my mind most immediately."

      (1) From Paulina Migalska

      Ten Thousand Villages is my favorite. They have stores throughout US and Canada http://www.tenthousandvillages.com

      (2) From Jim Thalhuber

      Don't forget Goodwill.

      (3) From Jerr Boschee

      Minnesota Public Radio is an obvious (and hugely successful) example

      (4) From: "Jackie Vanderbrug

      Take a look at Women Care Global. They have a really interesting hybrid model – I believe the parent is a UK charity. Saundra their CEO is amazing

      (5) From Jeffry Stern

      I work at TROSA, a 2-year residential treatment program for substance abuse which runs several businesses as part of the vocational rehabilitation
      treatment. TROSA is a non-profit and the program is free of charge to residents; over 50% of our annual budget is earned from the businesses operated. The
      largest of these is our moving company, which is the largest independent mover in the region with over 5,000 moves last year. Additional info available at

      TROSA is based on a similar program called the Delancey Street Foundation out of San Francisco.

      Given your Toms Shoes example, you may also be interested in Warby Parker, a for-profit online eyeglass store that has the same buy one, give one model (in partnership with nonprofits including VisionSpring and RestorningVision, I believe - recent writeup in SSIR).

      (6) From Angie Hawk Maiden

      Here is another approach. It is called the Glass Refactory.


      (7) From Katherine Snider

      Omar Freilla started a Green Workers Cooperative in the Bronx.

      (8) From Matthew Shelley

      As an FYI, Greyston Foundation operates Greyston Bakery, a social enterprise employing 50+ hard-to-serve folks from the greater Yonkers, NY area. We are a key supplier to Ben & Jerry's. In addition to running Greyston Foundation's suite of social service programs, I am in charge of developing our next social enterprise. Please feel free to give me a call or send me an email with any further questions about Greyston, our business model, etc..

      (9) From Cristina Roman

      TROSA and DC Central Kitchen runs Fresh Start Catering

      (10) From Amy Ellingson

      Tom’s of Maine, http://www.tomsofmaine.com/home
      Seventh Generation, http://www.seventhgeneration.com/
      One day – we (Catalyst Kitchens) hope to get on this list!

      (11) From Drew Tulchin

      ACCION and ACCION investments
      MicroVest (owned by 3 NGOs with private investors who came in)

      (12) From Ben Litalien

      NGO's are purchasing franchises to generate unrestricted income, create jobs
      and increase awareness. Here are some examples:



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