Through its Scaling the Impact of Social Enterprise SIF project, REDF will create job opportunities for individuals with multiple barriers to employment – including dislocated youth, individuals who have been homeless or incarcerated, and those with severe mental illness – in sustainable nonprofit social enterprises in low-income communities.  

Grantee Information
Federal Awards: 
$7 million over two years (2015-2017)
Focus Area: 
Economic Opportunity
Geographic Focus: 
Alameda, Contra Costa, Los Angeles, Orange, San Bernardino, Riverside, San Diego, San Francisco, San Mateo, & Santa Clara Counties, CA; and low-income communities in the West, Midwest and the South.

By funding and strengthening social enterprises in priority geographic ecosystems in the West, Mid-West and South, REDF’s program aims to employ low-income people who face significant barriers to employment. This program would build on its 2010 SIF project to continue to advance the level of evidence for employment-focused social enterprises. Visit their 2010 project page here.

Entities Receiving Social Innovation Fund Awards from REDF

Center for Employment OpportunitiesMile High Ministries
Central City ConcernMillionair Club
ChrysalisMore Than Words
Coalition for Responsible Community DevelopmentNew Avenues for Youth
Community Housing PartnershipNew Moms
Conservation Corps North BayOrion Industries
FareStartRoca, Inc.
Goodwill Industries of Central TexasThe Cara Program
Goodwill of Silicon ValleyUnited Teen Equality Center
Homeboy IndustriesWomen's Bean Project
Juma VenturesWorkforce, Inc. dba RecycleForce


Center for Employment Opportunities
New York, NY

Center for Employment Opportunities (CEO) is a national organization that provides life skills education, transitional work experience, placement services, and post-placement support to previously incarcerated individuals. CEO puts crews of employees to work on groundskeeping and road maintenance projects for municipal agencies. Although CEO is a nationally-regarded organization, they continue to look for ways to innovate. Their priority currently is to increase retention outcomes.

As a SIF subgrantee, CEO plans to expand into several new geographies, potentially including Texas, Florida, Colorado, Ohio, and Missouri. It currently operates in New York, Pennsylvania, Oklahoma, and California. CEO hopes to employ 11,000 people per year by 2020. As a SIF subgrantee, REDF estimates that through California expansion only, CEO will employ a total of 7,500 individuals.

Central City Concern
Portland, OR

Central City Concern (CCC) is an affordable housing and health provider based in Portland, OR. They currently operate multiple social enterprises (Clean & Safe, Central City Bed, Central City Coffee) and are proposing another. In 2016, CCC will launch On-Call Staffing, leveraging the agency's core competency in affordable housing management. This program will convert previously permanent in-house CCC on-call, front desk positions into transitional employment opportunities meant to teach trainees the skills required for long-term employment. Trainees will simultaneously work with an Employment Specialist who will assist with résumé development, interview skills, and job placement.

CCC provides wraparound services, which include supportive housing and access to its Federally Qualified Health Center. CCC also operates a very successful community volunteer program to build its pipeline of social enterprise employees. As a SIF subgrantee, CCC will use financial support and technical assistance to launch the On-Call Staffing business, as well as grow the other business lines. With sufficient five-year funding, REDF estimates CCC will employ 435 individuals.

Los Angeles, CA

Since 1991, Chrysalis has offered paid, transitional jobs through its in-house Chrysalis Enterprises (CE) businesses to get clients with significant barriers to employment on the road to permanent, outside jobs. There are two businesses within CE: Chrysalis Works (Works) and Chrysalis Staffing (Staffing). Works, a street maintenance company, provides experience in trash and recycling pick-up, landscaping, weed abatement, graffiti removal, hauling, and street sweeping. Staffing is a temporary staffing business providing employee sourcing, pre-employment training, and payroll processing across a variety of industries.

The Los Angeles headquarters is in Skid Row, the primary source of its clientele and social enterprise employees. Individuals face a variety of barriers with significant numbers having experienced homelessness, incarceration, and addiction. Chrysalis’s workforce services help individuals find employment. The clients who are hardest to serve and would not be successful in a job are given the opportunity to work in the social enterprise where they build job experience for their resume while building soft skills and good work habits.

Although Chrysalis is recognized as one of the most established and mature employment social enterprises in the country, the organization continues to innovate by implementing a standardized job-readiness checklist to help employment coaches measure client progress and social enterprise staff identify candidates who are ready for employment in the social enterprise. As an organization operating at scale, this will help reduce reliance on employment coaches making subjective assessments of job-readiness, increase the consistency of the candidates recommended to the social enterprise, and decrease the time a client is in programming before beginning to earn wages in the social enterprise. As a SIF subgrantee, CE is poised to achieve an annual 5% increase in job growth from 2016-2020. With sufficient five-year funding, REDF estimates that Chrysalis will employ a total of 1,423 individuals in Los Angeles.

Coalition for Responsible Community Development
Los Angeles, CA

Coalition for Responsible Community Development (CRCD) serves at-risk youth from the Vernon-Central District in Los Angeles, CA through CRCD Enterprises (CRCDE). CRCD Enterprises has a number of business activities including painting, facilities maintenance, and urban infrastructure.

CRCD serves at-risk youth through a neighborhood-based community development approach, and provides multiple services to prepare their youth for work. In addition to operating an alternative high school program at the Los Angeles Trade Technical College where youth can obtain their diplomas, they also run multiple programs for youth to train in skilled work such as painting, property maintenance and solar panel installation. Youth have the opportunity to get hands-on work experience at CRCDE, and can receive job placement assistance through CRCD’s YouthSource center. CRCD also operates a drop-in center for homeless youth, and develops and owns rental housing for low-income youth.

CRCD works within the community to address and improve conditions such as public safety, unemployment, and lack of affordable housing. Their reputation in the community is helping accelerate the growth of the enterprises; as attention turns towards improving the neighborhoods and infrastructure in the South Los Angeles area, CRCDE is well positioned to take on these projects. As a SIF subgrantee, CRCDE plans to launch a sidewalk repair business, and double the number of program participants served by 2020. With sufficient five-year funding, REDF estimates that CRCDE will employ 550 young adults.

Community Housing Partnership
San Francisco, CA

Community Housing Partnership (CHP) serves a population with multiple barriers to employment by tackling homelessness and housing as the number one barrier to self-sufficiency. Once stably housed, clients can begin rebuilding other parts of their lives, including employment. CHP seeks to further define, refine and scale its sector-based approach to the provision of social enterprise employment solutions for low-income individuals with histories of homelessness, with a particular emphasis on those residing in supportive housing.

As a SIF subgrantee, CHP will build upon its existing social enterprise, Solutions SF, which is presently comprised of a single business line providing lobby services to the supportive and affordable housing industry, ensuring a viable employment pathway for the target population into a sector offering dignified starting wages with tremendous advancement potential.

CHP proposes a 2020 target population job slot goal of 224 across two lines of business. With sufficient five-year funding, REDF estimates that CHP will employ at least 650 individuals, and potentially up to 1,063 individuals.

Conservation Corps North Bay
San Rafael, CA

Conservation Corps North Bay was founded in 1982 as the first local Conservation Corps. They work with opportunity youth, many of whom are gang-involved, to help them explore environmental career pathways, as well as gain a broader understanding of their impact on the environment and on their community. CCNB operates multiple sites across Marin, Sonoma, and Napa counties. A charter school and support services are co-located at the two main sites; youth report to one of the two sites every morning. Van transportation is provided to help youth participate in programming and employment. This is particularly useful for serving gang-affiliated youth in the East Bay who face too great a risk to participate in their local Conservation Corps due to rivalry gangs and instead commute to San Rafael for employment.

CCNB stands out among Conservation Corps because of their long-standing commitment to focus on environmental remediation projects in addition to recycling. They focus on providing youth the resources and training to access careers in environmental sciences. As a SIF subgrantee, CCNB hopes to achieve significant job growth (36%) by 2020, but importantly, also to expand their project capabilities while improving participant retention, duration and post-program success. With sufficient five-year funding, REDF estimates that CCNB will employ 930 individuals, and potentially up to 1,130 individuals.

Seattle, WA

Since 1992, FareStart has provided culinary training and employment to people with barriers to employment, such as histories of homelessness. Based in Seattle, WA, FareStart operates retail (a lunch restaurant and two cafes), catering, and contract meal production.

FareStart is often considered the original innovator and the current national model for food service social enterprises. FareStart created and spun off Catalyst Kitchens, a consulting firm and member network dedicated to helping entrepreneurs and social service agencies around the world replicate the successful FareStart model. As a SIF subgrantee, FareStart is seeking to double the number of people trained and employed from 2016-2020. With sufficient five-year funding, REDF estimates that FareStart will employ at least 790 individuals over the life of the grant.

Goodwill Staffing Group
Austin, TX

Goodwill Staffing Group (GSC) is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Goodwill Industries of Central Texas. GSG, launched in 1995, offers a full range of staffing services in health/medical, administrative, clerical, light industrial, manufacturing, technical, professional, and other industries. GSG currently serves individuals facing a variety of barriers to employment. Employees have access to an on-site charter school where they can earn a diploma and also work via GSG to earn wages while they earn a diploma.

GSG’s innovative model is to target large corporate clients and present itself as a one-stop shop for temporary staffing services for skilled and non-skilled labor. By hiring employees of a variety of skill-levels and backgrounds, it is able to secure contracts that it otherwise would be unable to. GSG currently operates in Travis County primarily, and is expanding its reach to two adjacent counties. GSG will be a natural cohort partner with the other organizations engaged in temporary staffing.

As a SIF subgrantee, over the next five years, GSG will be expanding its services to two adjacent counties. GSG projects that through SIF/REDF support, by 2020 it will be able to employ upwards of 900 individuals from REDF’s target population on an annual basis. With sufficient five-year funding, REDF estimates that GSG will employ at least 3,000 individuals over the life of the grant.

Goodwill of Silicon Valley
San Jose, CA

Goodwill of Silicon Valley (GSV) was established in Santa Clara County, CA in 1926 to move individuals and families out of poverty. GSV runs several social enterprises, and are seeking to expand the Donated Goods Revenue business, which includes thrift stores, commodities recycling, mattress recycling, and computer refurbishing. GSV also runs the Clean Wheels auto detailing business. The people employed in these businesses face barriers such as a history of incarceration and homelessness and receive wage-paying employment in addition to supportive, barrier-removing services.

GSV is currently piloting a Retail Academy in partnership with employers including Walgreens, Orchard Supply, and Macy’s in order to transition its retail enterprise employees into managerial track positions. As a SIF subgrantee, GSV will grow their business lines by 35 percent over five years and increase employment opportunities by 175 transitional job slots. With sufficient five-year funding, REDF estimates that GSV can employ 1,010 individuals.

Homeboy Industries
Los Angeles, CA

Since 1988, Homeboy Industries has provided job training and employment to gang-affiliated and formerly incarcerated individuals in a variety of social enterprises in Los Angeles. The strongest businesses are Homeboy Bakery, Homegirl Café, and Homegirl Catering, all of which are in the food service industry. Growing these businesses will be the focus of the funding relationship and technical assistance from REDF. The brand has strong recognition throughout Los Angeles.

Employees receive very comprehensive supports including an introductory 9-month program in which participants are paid to work on site at Homeboy and partake in programming to stabilize their lives. Homeboy’s innovative supports, such as prison and gang-identifying tattoo removal, have been recognized internationally. As a SIF subgrantee, Homeboy plans to double the number of individuals employed in the enterprises, with an optimistic goal to grow to 160 people-employed per year in these businesses. With sufficient five-year funding, REDF estimates that Homeboy will employ between 350-500 people from 2016-2020.

Juma Ventures
San Francisco, CA

Based out of San Francisco, CA, Juma Ventures is a social enterprise serving at-risk youth that operates by acquiring sub-contracts from master concessionaires of stadium and entertainment venues. Juma’s model combines employment, financial education, and professional skills coaching for all of its participants. Currently, Juma has contracts in six cities, including New York, Seattle, New Orleans, San Francisco, and San Jose.

Juma’s innovation has been its ability to scale quickly to other cities. While Juma will continue to scale rapidly to other cities, its strategic innovation in corporate partnerships is equally attractive to REDF. Juma has established a corporate partnership with Starbucks and is building another partnership with Gap, Inc. These companies are looking for entry level talent with sufficient soft skills and work habits to succeed in long-term employment. Building on the Opportunity Youth movement, they have pledged initiatives to hire and train large numbers of youth. Because these companies have their own accountability targets for retention, they are working with a partner like Juma to access trained talent and will invest their own resources to support retention. Because of its scale, Juma can position itself as a reliable partner.

As a SIF subgrantee, Juma plans to expand to Sacramento, Atlanta, and Houston so that it can serve increasing numbers of opportunity youth. With sufficient five-year funding, REDF estimates that Juma will employ 1,775 young adults.

Mile High Ministries
Englewood, CO

Mile High Ministries launched the Mile High Workshop (MHW or Workshop) social enterprise in 2014 in an effort to create jobs and rebuild lives for people facing the greatest barriers to employment. The Workshop is an employment and job-training program primarily aimed to support those rebuilding from addictions, homelessness, and incarceration.

The Workshop provides contract manufacturing and production services to businesses in Denver in four main areas: sewing, woodworking, laser etching, and general assembly. Transitional employees learn valuable skills that can command living wages in the workforce, without any post-secondary education, in industries that are traditionally open to individuals with histories of incarceration. The Workshop’s innovative model removes the costs of product design, brand development, and marketing. Instead, they serve as the production and fulfillment center for a fast-growing segment of small business entrepreneurs developing high-margin products for niche markets.

As a SIF subgrantee, Mile High Workshop plans to employ 100 people per year by 2020. With sufficient five-year funding, REDF estimates that MHW will employ between 200 to 340 individuals total from 2016-2020. However, we recognize the potential for this number to be larger depending on term limits and revenue growth.

Millionair Club Charity
Seattle, WA

Millionair Club Charity operates a temporary staffing social enterprise, Millionair Club Charity Staffing Solutions (MCC), to provide the hardest-to-serve with transitional work experience. MCC has been connecting its clients to work opportunities for over 90 years. MCC provides a large array of services to support its clientele in preparing for work. Many of MCC’s clientele are experiencing homelessness and working to stabilize their lives. Services provided include showers and hygiene stations, daily lockers, daily hot meals and sack lunches, free eye exams and prescription eye wear, free cell phones, and use of computers. They also run a staffing business which began decades ago as a job board for day laborers. MCC has taken control of the business and repositioned it into a fast growing staffing company as part of their strategy to move their clients out of the cash economy and into full-time, permanent, higher-wage work.

As a SIF subgrantee, MCC projects it will double the number of people employed by 2020. With sufficient five-year funding, REDF estimates that MCC will employ 2,583 individuals.

More Than Words
Waltham, MA

Since 2004, More Than Words has been employing and empowering youth who are in foster care, court involved, homeless, or out of school to work in and run a used book store and café business in the Boston area. In addition to retail storefronts, More Than Words operates e-commerce bookstores and employs youth in the book warehouse.

MTW’s model of a youth-led business is innovative and a well-executed model that is not easy to implement. Consistent with the overall goal of empowering youth to take charge of their lives, the programmatic supports model consists of coaching youth as they guide themselves through various modules on independence, living skills, and financial literacy. There is a special emphasis on reconnecting youth to education by supporting GED attainment, enrollment in community college, and identification of long-term career goals.

As a SIF subgrantee, More Than Words will double the number of job slots for youth (from 60 to 126 slots). With sufficient five-year funding, REDF estimates that MTW will employ a total of at least 905 individuals and potentially over 1,000 individuals.

New Avenues for Youth
Portland, OR

For more than a decade, New Avenues for Youth has used social enterprise as a key strategy for helping youth exit and avoid homelessness. The employment enterprises, in conjunction with services like case management, alternative education, and free meals, support homeless youth in stabilizing their lives. To date, they have built a strong foundation of transitional work and leadership/managerial opportunities for youth through two social enterprises: Ben & Jerry’s PartnerShop franchises (of which they own two) and the screen-printing business New Avenues INK.

New Avenues has two corporate partnerships that are interesting to REDF, one with Nike and one with global advertising firm AKQA. They also continue to innovate on business lines to create jobs that are not only interesting to youth but create pathways into well-paying careers. Building off of the initial success of INK, New Avenues launched Different Pigeon which is a youth-led graphic design firm that works in collaboration with the screen printing business. Youth are employed in paid, creative design positions and generate urban designs that have captured the interest of Nike and AKQA.

As a SIF subgrantee with access to technical assistance, New Avenues would grow their business lines while deepening their impact on youth. With sufficient five year funding, REDF estimates that New Avenues for Youth will employ 374 individuals.

New Moms
Chicago, IL

New Moms is a housing and wraparound supports agency for homeless and high-risk adolescent mothers in the Chicago area. Since 2010, their social enterprise, Bright Endeavors, has provided workforce training and transitional jobs for these women. Bright Endeavors produces handmade artisan soy candles, and operates a candle rental business.

Women work in all aspects of the business within a defined term limit and work with case managers to find external employment. Candle making is not seen as a pathway to a related career; rather, the transitional employment helps the women gain experience, build strong work habits, and form a supportive community of other young mothers. Case managers emphasize helping the young women, who often are restabilizing after a period of homelessness, to identify long term career goals and help them identify the specific steps to achieve their goals.

As a SIF subgrantee, they seek to more than double the number of women they employ from 2016-2020. With sufficient five-year funding, REDF estimates that Bright Endeavors will serve at least 350 women.

Orion Industries
Auburn, WA

Orion Industries is a $25M manufacturing business headquartered in Auburn, WA. In addition to their social mission of helping people with mental and cognitive illness and other barriers back into the workforce, Orion is an award-winning standalone business, previously named Supplier of the Year by Boeing. In 2008, Orion also opened a 200-seat contact center to serve more women and people with greater employment barriers. Continued growth will come from the opening of an aerospace finish line in January 2016 and expansion to Snohomish County.

Orion provides training, employment coaching, mentorship, and job placement services to its transitional employees. Their innovative model allows employees to cycle through several stages or “cells” within the manufacturing center, often with the ability to earn industry-recognized certifications. They also have a well-implemented mentorship program in which core staff volunteer to be mentors for transitional employees. They have created a culture in which being selected as a mentor is seen as a reward.

As a SIF subgrantee, Orion will grow the number of transitional employment slots by 35 percent or close to 100 additional individuals annually by 2020. Most importantly, funding will also allow Orion to expand their non-revenue generating mission services at the same pace as their businesses. With sufficient five-year funding, REDF estimates that Orion will employ a minimum of 510 individuals, and potentially up to 1,779 individuals.

Roca, Inc.
Chelsea, MA

Roca, Inc. operates supervised work crews for proven-risk youth that engage in work projects contracted through municipal public works departments and private companies in construction, landscaping, maintenance, painting, and cleaning. Roca’s innovative model is recognized around the world as one of the most successful ways of helping proven-risk youth transition to productive lives. They work with youth through a continuum of stages of change. Compared to most programs, they begin their interaction with young adults when they are still in the precontemplative state of change, meaning they do not yet even recognize the need to change their behavior. Roca has a strictly-structured model in which they expect youth will get fired from their job several times before completing 60 consecutive work days which is the bar for program completion.

As a SIF subgrantee, Roca will expand into New York City with six basic work crews and 16 advanced transitional employment positions, and are also adding at least five basic work crews and 18 advanced slots in its three Massachusetts sites. With sufficient five-year funding, REDF estimates that Roca will employ 1,913 young adults.

The Cara Program
Chicago, IL

Since 2005, The Cara Program, a workforce training program, has operated social enterprises in Chicago to provide transitional jobs for people who have faced barriers to work, such as homelessness or incarceration. There are two social enterprises: CleanSlate, a community beautification and maintenance company, and TCP Staffing, a staffing agency. These enterprises provide wage-paying transitional jobs to employees who also receive coaching and supports to help stabilize their lives.

Cara has been an innovator in building a positive and vibrant culture that celebrates transition and is successful at building team work and community among program participants. Their morning circles, in which participants motivate each other, cheer, and sing, embody this unique culture. With sufficient five-year funding, REDF estimates that Cara will employ at least 1,863 people.

Social enterprise employment is the cornerstone of UTEC’s staged, long-term approach to serving proven-risk young people.

For all youth served, UTEC measures success through three key outcome areas: Reduced Recidivism, Increased Employability, and Increased Educational Attainment.

UTEC, Inc.
Lowell, MA

UTEC’s innovative model includes relentless street outreach through their street workers who build and maintain relationships with over 30 active gang sects in the Lowell area. UTEC’s model is also innovative because it was founded by youth activists and maintains a strong commitment to youth leadership within their programming and governance. They also have unique programming to help youth become engaged in advocacy on social justice policy issues.

As a SIF subgrantee UTEC will expand their current business lines and employ upwards of 400 new, unduplicated youth from 2016 to 2020. With sufficient five-year funding, REDF estimates that UTEC will employ between 496 and 601 individuals.

Women’s Bean Project
Denver, CO

Women’s Bean Project is a gourmet food manufacturing and jewelry assembly social enterprise based in Denver. Rather than help the women in the program get any type of job, Women’s Bean focuses on transitioning women participants from social enterprise employment into career entry-level jobs and putting an end to intergenerational poverty and incarceration. One hundred percent of women successfully completing the Women’s Bean program are still employed one year later.

Women’s Bean Project has a supports model targeted to the needs of their female population. They have an innovative volunteer mentor program that numerous social enterprises try to replicate. The business has continued growth potential by building on their new partnership with Wal-Mart to be in hundreds of stores. Leadership is also looking to expand and update their product line to appeal to younger consumers who spend less time cooking.

As a SIF subgrantee, Women’s Bean Project will expand their program to serve more women while maintaining their outcomes. With sufficient five-year funding, REDF estimates that Women’s Bean Project will employ at least 330 women.

Workforce Inc. DBA RecycleForce
Indianapolis, IN

RecycleForce is a social enterprise in the electronic recycling (“e-waste”) industry that employs previously incarcerated individuals on a transitional basis. RecycleForce is the only social enterprise within the proposed portfolio that focuses solely on e-waste. They also serve a specific subset of REDF’s target population (previously incarcerated men and women). REDF looks forward to being able to assess the relative effectiveness of the RecycleForce program compared to programs with broader focus. REDF is also eager to test whether e-waste recycling skills command greater wages for the target population.

As a SIF subgrantee, RecycleForce plans to use funds to strengthen its transitional job pipeline, and to expand the number of job slots to 125 by 2020. With sufficient five-year funding, REDF estimates that RecycleForce will employ 1,820 individuals, with potential to serve as many as 2,320.

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