Could 2016 be the year?


It´s a new year, could this year be the one for me to launch this project? I suppose there is no better year than this one, for this is all I really have. I got an angel in fact, her name is Victoria Santamarina, and she has a master’s from Duke University and bachelors in political science from UCA in Argentina. But more than those amazing qualifications, she has an enormous heart and tremendous drive to apply her knowledge and skills into projects that could make a difference among a vulnerable population. Luckily she has chosen mine and has helped me so much with research for this project, until she gets her green card and starts working full time in Seattle.

We´ve found several organizations for youth making an impact in their lives that have become the base of learning for the creation of this project. Some examples are:

Name of the Organization : TROSA INC


About: «TROSA is an innovative, multi-year residential program that enables substance abusers to be productive, recovering individuals by providing comprehensive treatment, work-based vocational training, education, and continuing care.» TROSA provides residents with vocational training in their administrative offices as well as their income-generating businesses.

Businesses : TROSA Moving & Storage, TROSA Lawn Care, TROSA Thrift Store, TROSA Tree Lots

Findings: As a nonprofit they are able to employ a lot of people thanks to additional funding resources and donations. They constantly rotate employees and they have several positions for them to move up to. The people that go through their program may or may not have a high level of education.

Name of the Organization: HOMEBOY INDUSTRIES


About: «Homeboy Industries provides hope, training, and support to formerly gang-involved and previously incarcerated men and women allowing them to redirect their lives and become contributing members of their community».

Businesses: Silkscreen & embroidery, homegirl café, bakery, homeboy gear, diner at cityhall, grocery, farmers market, online market, catering, food truck

Findings: In the process of having an interview

Name of the Organization: BRAW BAKERS

Website: Braw Bakers Info

About: «Social enterprise producing artisan bread, operating in a maximum security prison with 750 inmates. The revenue generating model is conventional, just adapted to a prison environment. »

Businesses: They produce bread and cakes and sell them in the prison café as well as to restaurants, cafes and businesses in and around Glasgow

Findings: They recruit directly from the Prison Halls. Each person goes through a realistic job application and interview process. Once employed they are given indivitual treatment to develop their soft skills and train them to gain an SVQ2, a vocational qualification in craft bakery. They work at the bakery five days a week, eight hours a day, recreating a proper working environment, to mimic what a full-time job would be like.

Name of the Organization: THE CLINK CHARITY


About: «The Clink Charity’s sole aim is to reduce reoffending rates of ex-offenders. We work in partnership with Her Majesty’s Prison Service to run projects that train and give practical skills to prisoners to aid their rehabilitation. The Clink Restaurants allow prisoners to learn, engage with the public and take their first steps towards a new life.»

Businesses : The Clink operates 4 training restaurants, 1 horticulture scheme and 1 event caterer

Findings: Each prisoner works and trains for 40 hours per week, they have 150 training positions available and they train up to 155 prisioners at a time. They published a brief guide for businesses that employ exoffenders: Employing Ex-offenders: Making the Right Choice

These are all great examples of nonprofits that also have a business that serves as a source of income and as a place to train their beneficiaries and provide them with job skills in order for them to continue with their lives and create a better future for themselves.

Even though Victoria has helped me talk to some of these organizations, several questions still arise. Most nonprofits have several income streams and even though this should be a given for any business and any person for that matter, it appears as though in their case it’s because only one project isn´t enough income and because given that they receive donations they able to hire more individuals.

The case in Latin America is that there isn´t a legal status for a hybrid model (nonprofit & profit at the same time).  There is however a new legal status called B Corporation, “B Corps meet the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability, and aspire to use the power of markets to solve social and environmental problems”. There are several examples of B Corps in Latin America, such as Ouro Verde Amazonia, in Brazil, but we still have to make a deeper analysis on the subject. For instance, it appears as though start-ups can only get a temporary certification until it has been in business for over 12 months.

If you are a business that employs youth, take a look at this useful booklet