Nonprofit Sustainability Showcase Highlights Emerging Social Enterprises in Central Ohio

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As “social enterprise” finds its way into the business vernacular as more for-profit entities meld profits with social causes, nonprofits have long been carrying out socially-focused missions. The second annual Nonprofit Sustainability Showcase presented by SocialVentures (formerly the Center for Social Enterprise Development) demonstrated how the two worlds are colliding as local nonprofits presented their ideas for their own social enterprises.

A for-profit social enterprise has the benefit of not only providing a new revenue stream for a nonprofit, but often times the for-profit entity further supports the mission of its founding nonprofit.

The five pitching enterprises at the showcase represent the second cohort of nonprofits to complete the SE Catalyst program. Not an accelerator, but an intensive eight-month immersion for nonprofits, participants complete the program with a formal written plan of action to launch their social enterprise.

From apps to family fun, learn more about the ways local nonprofits look to further their impact.

The Center for Balanced Living

The Center for Balanced Living is the last free-standing non-profit in the country dedicated to treating individuals with eating disorders. Biologically-driven mental illnesses, eating disorders impact some 33 million Americans with a major part of treatment relying on tracking food consumption.

The Center found that deciphering and making medical sense of what a patient was consuming was taking away from actual patient care. As a solution, the organization developed a mobile application and dashboard for patients and providers to more accurately track information.

Patients enter dietary information into a mobile app much like FitnessPal, but see results in a way that is more beneficial to their recovery – like counting carbohydrates or proteins. Care providers are able to quickly view what a client is eating versus what they should be eating, putting the focus back on providing care instead of analyzing data.

The SaaS product has a functioning beta that is already exceeding expectations.

Equality Ohio

Ohio is one of 28 states without nondiscrimination protections. Equality Ohio is hard at work creating a different kind of Ohio, one where all residents feel welcomed and safe, regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity or expression.

For its social enterprise, Equality Ohio is monetizing and expanding work that they already do: use their expertise as a consultant, trainer and strategic partner for organizations of all sizes that want to be more inclusive and navigate best practices when it comes to gay and transgender employees.

Equality Ohio has provided more 30 trainings since January, and has found that there is an existing demand for its services in Central Ohio through the Columbus Chamber, which has received multiple requests for gay and transgender inclusion training.

Rebuilding Together Central Ohio

For more than 25 years, Rebuilding Together has been helping individuals stay in safe and healthy homes and communities through repair and home modification services for low-income senior and disabled homeowners. Now, they will expand their services to individuals that don’t qualify for grants with the Mod Squad.

The organization found that in a county wide-poll of individuals over 50, 90 percent wanted to age in place, but a majority had concerns about their ability to do so. The Mod Squad will provide a gamut of services, from whole house assessments all the way through modifications and repairs, charged on a sliding scale.

When many contractors turn away smaller jobs, the Mod Squad can respond to immediate and long-term needs necessary for seniors to age in place.

YMCA Central Ohio

Bounce houses, legos – you name it. If it’s fun, it’s going on the YMCA’s Family Fun Factory trailer. The YMCA is expanding the success of its family parties at its Delaware location to the Central Ohio area with a mobile party trailer.

The YMCA plans to keep a busy calendar for the Fun Factory with three main markets: parent-child parties at its 12 additional Central Ohio locations, partnerships with other city and corporate events and enhancing its current programs.

The Fun Factory will help families create memorable experiences through equity pricing strategies that will make sure every family has an opportunity to enjoy the fun at a price they can afford. Proceeds from the social enterprise will also go towards the nonprofit’s goal of providing a livable wage for entry-level employees.

US Together

The largest refugee service organization in the state, US Together provides services for over 1,300 individuals a year. The nonprofit will expand their helping hand with Welcoming City, a community center that will combine a cultural cafe, event space, new resident services and career services.

Phase one of the social enterprise launches Welcoming City Career Connections, an agency helping individuals find careers to temporary positions. The program address the needs of two groups: refugees and the logistics industry, where there is a high need for temporary employees.

Welcoming City has launched a pilot program with KBC, a warehouse producing perfumes for Victoria’s Secret and other companies. The three-month pilot will also partner with another emerging social enterprise, EmpowerBus, which seeks to provide reliable transportation to and from work.

For more information, visit socialventurescbus.com/programs/se-catalyst/.