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Five Companies that Make Philanthropy Work, and Make Work Philanthropy

3p Contributor | Thursday November 17th, 2011 | 2 Comments

We have teamed up with Abbott to produce an article series on the future of corporate philanthropy. Please read the rest of the series here.

By Stacy McCoy

Virtually all jobs these days at least offer you the opportunity to volunteer or get involved with causes at work–and most of us really want a job at a company that gives back to the larger community. However, some companies go above and beyond.  At these companies known as social enterprises, every job is directly involved with having a positive impact on society.  It is ingrained into the business model.  This is the sweet spot.

I have had the opportunity to get to learn about a lot of truly inspiring social enterprises.  Below is just a short list of companies who give their employees the opportunity to have a real impact with everything they do.

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WORN

WORN is the social business arm of the Catholic Charities Fort Worth (CCFW).  Its main purpose is to empower refugee women in Fort Worth, TX.  WORN sells scarves that are hand-knit by the women allowing them to have an income when they would otherwise be unemployable.  As Abbi Ice, the design and production manager, has said, “The life skills they learn through WORN enable them to better assimilate into their new American lives.” The best part?  The net profit is reinvested to allow CCFW to continue to fight to end poverty.

Selfless Tee

Selfless Tee just so happens to be a social enterprise that was a winner in the first Pepsi Refresh contest.  In the words of one of the founders, Danny Bocanegra, “[Selfless Tee] runs campaigns with organizations using unique, cause-inspired apparel giving back 100% of the profits to the organization after the campaign.”  This wasn’t Danny’s first project.  In college he sold t-shirts to fund mosquito nets to prevent the spread of malaria in Kenya.  Selfless Tee took this idea to the next level.  Of course the t-shirts also happen to be made of organic-cotton/recycled-polyester blends and made in fair trade facilities.  Selfless Tee is a socially responsible company through and through.

Hotels For Hope

Hotels For Hope is a social enterprise that was founded by Neil Goldman after a chance encounter with Blake Mycoskie, the founder of TOMS, and is being acknowledged as a Silver Sponsor at the Special Olympics Texas Fall Classic.  In his own words, he “realized that [his] ‘ticket in life’ was to shift [the] for-profit business into a social enterprise.”  What evolved was a company that adds a layer of social good to the simple act of securing hotel rooms.  They book rooms for meeting planners, event organizers, individual travelers and hotels.  With every room booked, the hotel makes a $1 charitable contribution that Hotels For Hope matches.  Hotels For Hope then donates this money to support one of its five partner organizations.  Hotels For Hope proves that you can insert social good into any business model and give back every step of the way.

Yellow 108

Yellow 108 is a sustainable hats and accessories company that uses salvaged and recycled materials.  Textile factories produce an enormous amount of waste.  Yellow 108 minimizes waste by turning it into something fashionable that everyone can wear.  They are trendy and environmentally responsible.  It doesn’t get much better than that.

Runa

Runa is a social enterprise beverage company that specializes in selling Guayusa (“gwhy-you-sa”).  As the founder Tyler Gage will tell you, Guayusa is “a native Amazonian tree leaf that contains more caffeine and double the antioxidants of any tea.”  That in and of itself is pretty fantastic.  But, Runa takes it a step further.  It is a hybrid organization and also runs a non-profit Fundación Runa.  Fundación Runa helps indigenous communities and farmers’ associations work towards achieving sustainable development in the Amazon.  Not only does Guayusa give you a healthy boost of energy, it also allows you to support the lives of indigenous farmers.

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These companies illustrate how philanthropy can be more than donating a set number of volunteer hours a year and just working on a project here and there.  Every employee has the opportunity to make a difference every single day.  These are the types of jobs that people dream about.

Stacy McCoy is the co-founder and CEO of Give To Get Jobs, a job board and information hub for the for-profit firms with a social and/or environmental mission.  As a social enterprise, a portion of the proceeds from each job posting is donated to fund job creation programs.  McCoy is committed to proving that you can have a job you love with a steady and stable paycheck but also makes the world a better place. She refuses to settle for anything less!

You can follow her on Twitter at @stacymccoy and @Give2GetJobs

Disclosure: WORN, Yellow 108, and Runa have done business with Give To Get Jobs.


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  • R. Venkatasamy

    Quite commendable on the part of such companies, I would say. My problem is about people. The greater number of people out there are only interested in what they can take from systems and do not care two hoots about society or the planet. How do we change that mentality?

  • https://twitter.com/#!/ditwordtgroen Tjarco van Raalte

    Very nice list Stacy,
    we need more stages for companies like these.

    You might also like http://www.masterpeace.org
    i’m not related with them, I just really like their business model

    Greetings