Types of Social Innovation

Social enterprises create positive social change and breakthrough business results. Many ventures involve employment of hard-to-employ individuals in the production of goods such as non-for-profit Greystone Bakery, a Yonkers NY bakery that produces confectionary products for high-end restaurants and Ben & Jerry’s ice cream stores while also providing jobs for the formerly homeless and pouring its profits into the organization’s social programs.

Community Mainstreaming Associates, a Long Island disabilities’ service agency operates the Sweet Comfort Bakery & Café, offering employment for people with developmental disabilities while also reducing the agency’s reliance on government. Other ventures serve unmet needs in ignored or hard-to-reach markets such as urban food desserts bringing healthy foods to communities that lack supermarkets.

For-profit Seventh Generation in Burlington VT , produces household and personal care products that protect human health and the environment while also donating 10% of profits to its environmental and health programs.

Nuestras Raices, a Holyoke MA nonprofit, operates Energia LLC, a socially-responsible for-profit energy service company, providing energy efficiency upgrades for residential and commercial clients. Story Pirates, a nonprofit writing and drama program in New York and Los Angeles owns a for-profit company that produces profitable stage shows.

For fifteen years, nonprofit Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Long Island has operated another highly-profitable nonprofit business selling used clothing, dramatically reducing its reliance on traditional fund raising efforts.