Social Enterprise in Action

Board meeting

Marc Center of Mesa

This week I had the privilege of touring the Marc Center of Mesa. The Marc Center of Mesa is a private nonprofit that provides educational, therapeutic, rehabilitation, and social services to children and adults with developmental and physical disabilities as well as behavioral health challenges.

The Marc Center is a thriving, creative, and innovative nonprofit that is thinking strategically about how to achieve its mission through both nonprofit and for-profit ventures that provide vocational opportunities for its clients.  The Marc Center is providing vocational opportunities in the areas of food service, packaging services, mailing, filing, and other low-tech vocations.

During my visit, I had a delicious lunch at a Banner Health facility where a Marc Center of Mesa subsidiary is in charge of food service and even provides catering.

What are Social Enterprises?

Social enterprises are ventures that are making money and fulfilling a social mission at the same time.

Social Enterprises Examples

Here are some examples of social enterprises:

  • Habitat for Humanity’s Discount Home Improvement Center
  • UMOM’s catering company
  • SARRC’s CulinaryWorks
  • Scottsdale Training and Rehabilitation Services (STARS) food service partnership with Scottsdale Healthcare
  • Borderlinks Travel Seminars
  • Dineh Cooperatives, Inc.’s light manufacturing
  • Tseyi Shopping Center’s property management
  • Muscular Dystrophy Association’s retail notecard sales
  • Native Seeds/SEARCH retail seed and crafts shop
  • Thunderhead Alliance’s bicycle and pedestrian consulting services
  • Yuma Reading Council’s workplace literacy education and training

The social enterprise movement is alive and well in Arizona and growing. We can all help to nurture Arizona’s budding social enterprise movement by remembering to consider social enterprise vendors and service providers when we make our own purchasing and hiring decisions.

Ellis Carter is a nonprofit lawyer with Caritas Law Group, P.C. licensed to practice in Washington and Arizona. Ellis advises nonprofit and socially responsible businesses on corporate, tax, and fundraising regulations nationwide. Ellis also advises donors with regard to major gifts. To schedule a consultation with Ellis, call 602-456-0071 or email us through our contact form.

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