Looking for examples of social entrepreneurship to inspire your own work? Each month we feature five nonprofits in the Stand Together Foundation network that represent the best in social innovation.
The Stand Together Foundation community comprises some of the nation’s most effective social entrepreneurs. Instead of looking for one-size-fits-all solutions to address challenges in their communities, they look to the community members who are closest to each issue to generate new ideas. Instead of simply managing the symptoms of problems like poverty, addiction, and mass incarceration, they ask big questions and take healthy risks to get at the root causes.
In other words, these social entrepreneurs aren’t content with the status quo. They’re committed to empowering individuals around them and transforming lives one at a time.
Brigid’s Path provides 24/7 medical care for newborn babies and mothers impacted by addiction. Recognizing that the foster system was failing families, they took an entrepreneurial approach to chart a new direction—founding the first newborn recovery center in Ohio.
Rather than separating children from their parents, Brigid’s Path welcomes mothers and fathers into its facility so they can bond with their child and become part of the infant’s safekeeping. While the medical team provides therapeutic care to each infant, parents are also offered love, connection, and nonjudgmental support for their recovery journey. Brigid’s Path’s core innovation is built on the observation that families heal best when they are kept together.
Elevate USA harnesses the power of healthy, long-term relationships to help youth develop a sense of stability and self-confidence. When designing their program, they saw a connection between high school dropout rates and reduced economic opportunities. They also discovered that students were most at risk to drop out when they didn’t have consistent, supportive adult relationships.
Elevate’s entrepreneurial solution combines accredited classes, mentoring, adventure, and college and career planning—all powered by a team of full-time staff who build relationships with students. Participants in Elevate’s program are given the opportunity to develop their strengths, graduate high school, and build a strong foundation for future success.
Give an Hour was founded on the observation that individuals who face major trauma also face major barriers to mental health care. Today, their social enterprise offers no-cost care to people impacted by military service, mass violence, the opioid crisis, and interpersonal violence.
Despite a national shortage of mental health providers, Give an Hour is able to deliver their critical service through the power of community. They built a national network that includes thousands of professionals who agree to provide one hour of pro bono services each week. This network fills a critical gap in the mental health industry and enables Give an Hour to be very responsive to evolving needs at a community level.
Prison Yoga Project brings yoga practices to thousands of incarcerated people around the country. Their team identified that most incarcerated people have a history of interpersonal trauma that feeds cycles of harm and self-harm. Their entrepreneurial breakthrough was to use yoga as a tool for transformational healing.
Today, Prison Yoga Project’s innovative approach addresses unresolved traumas and improves mental health and personal rehabilitation. In the process, they are also setting a new vision for criminal justice in America, showcasing the potential of restorative strategies and identifying the shortcomings of punitive measures.
Women’s Bean Project is a social enterprise that enables chronically unemployed women to discover their capabilities and build self–sufficiency. Their team believes that—if given the chance—all women have the power to transform their lives.
Women’s Bean Project innovates by helping women break down the barriers they face. Each employee is offered full-time paid employment, job training, career services, life skill development, and personalized case management. They’re exposed to career options that range from customer service to food manufacturing, and ultimately empowered to transition into fulfilling, stable careers.