Social Enterprise – What is it?
“Social Enterprises are businesses that trade to tackle social problems, improve communities, people’s life chances, or the environment. They make their money from selling goods and services in the open market, but they reinvest their profits back into the business or the local community”
This is the essence of what we are doing at Holland Rescue Mission through both our current thrift stores and our new Gateway Center. We are selling goods (donated items) on the open market (through our stores) to reinvest the profits back into improving the local community (operating emergency homeless shelters).
Another key component of Social Enterprise is sustainability. Sustainability can be simply defined as the “capacity to endure”, or in basic terms – “the ability to continue”. In terms of Holland Rescue Mission, it allows us to operate an enterprise (thrift stores) that generates income which enhances our ability to continue what we are doing (providing emergency food and shelter).
At Holland Rescue Mission, we take this one step further and utilize our guests to assist in the enterprise model. That is, many of our guests are asked to work in our social enterprise (thrift stores and/or donation processing) to not only teach them the connection between work and the benefits received, but also assisting with our overall ability to continue to operate emergency food and shelter programs.
The next time you shop at one of our thrift stores, you can be assured that you are not only getting a great deal but you are investing into our local community – through a Social Enterprise!
Scott Klingberg, Chief Program Officer