Bright Endeavors is a Chicago non-profit social enterprise that manufactures and markets eco-friendly home and bath products, helping single parents (aged 17-24) transition into economic stability. Bright Endeavors provides on-the-job experience to some of Chicago’s most at-risk youth.
Bright Endeavors is a green business, using vegetable waxes, natural botanicals, Dead Sea salts and reclaimed and recycled glass. Each product is handmade and packaged by motivated program participants. All proceeds are used to support programming for new moms and to place participants into quality, permanent employment.
Bright Endeavors transforms the lives of young moms by teaching these women to craft premium soy candles in a supportive, professional environment. Through the paid transitional jobs program, they provide the guidance and job skills young moms need to secure quality employment and achieve a lifetime of personal success.
Kei & Molly
Two friends and textile artists, Kei Tsuzuki and Molly Luethi, launched their company Kei & Molly in the International District of Albuquerque, an area home to many of the refugees and recent immigrants to our city. Vibrant with culture, it is nonetheless one of Albuquerque's pockets of poverty. They are committed to creating good jobs in this area, and work with refugee resettlement programs to find their employees. The company provides on-the-job training, health and education benefits, flexible hours, and sense of community making it a great place to work.
Being environmental stewards is also important to them. The studio uses only water-based, non-toxic inks to minimize their impact on the environment. They filter their waste water to 20 microns to keep pigment out of the water system. And the product line is also made using only 100% natural fibers.
Made by: MADE by DWC
MADE by DWC is a social enterprise created by the Downtown Women’s Center to break the cycles of chronic homelessness and unemployment in the heart of downtown Los Angeles. By empowering women to discover talents and develop skills through vocational opportunities, MADE by DWC generates economic and social capital to support programs at DWC and create opportunities for women to overcome barriers to employment.
100% of proceeds support Downtown Women’s Center programs and services.
Founded 38 years ago, the nonprofit is dedicated to aiding and empowering the women of skid row in Los Angeles. Workshops run by volunteers are held six days a week at the MADE by DWC Resale Boutique and at the center’s San Pedro Street location. The classes help homeless and low-income women develop skills, discover talents, and build self-esteem. Participants might learn how to make woodblock-printed note cards or repurpose library books into journals. They’re paid for everything they produce, and all proceeds go to funding support services.
Prosperity Candle is a small group of people who have joined together to create positive change in the world. They come from different walks of life, yet share a common dream: a world where all women have the opportunity to truly thrive. As a social enterprise, they work at the intersection of business and philanthropy, seeking sustainable market-based solutions to today’s challenges. They believe supporting women’s entrepreneurship and harnessing the immense resources of the global marketplace is the most effective way to achieve long-term impact.
As they explored different possibilities for a new model, they found that candle-making, unlike many handmade products, is a uniquely scalable enterprise and one that was uniquely suited to women’s needs in distressed nations. The more molds a woman invests in, the more candles she makes each day and the more income she can earn.
Each candle is handmade by a woman refugee creating a new life for herself and her family in the U.S. Story cards are included with your order. Purchase a candle and you will be combining light, beauty and purpose to inspire a brighter future for these women. Knowing that every 10 candles sold equals one day’s living wage for a woman in Iraq motivates Prosperity Candle daily.
The Tomorrow Project
The Tomorrow Project -- Helping women create futures today -- is a work-readiness program in San Diego for homeless women. Their mission is to provide individualized work-readiness training opportunities for homeless women within the context of a business/product assembly environment.
Through the process of producing a line of gourmet food products, women who are re-entering the work force or entering it for the first time experience the culture of work and the success that comes with reaching daily goals and assembling a product from raw materials to a saleable package. Each label is personally signed by a woman in the Project. Top San Diego chefs partner with The Tomorrow Project to develop unique recipes.
Sales enable The Tomorrow Project to build women’s skills so they can end their homelessness and improve the training components, product offering, and production facilities.
The Women's Bean Project
Since 1989, The Women's Bean Project has been dedicated to helping women break the cycle of poverty and unemployment. The Women's Bean, as it's often fondly referred to in Denver, aims to teach workplace competencies through employment in on-site businesses to women who come from backgrounds of chronic unemployment or poverty. The organization helps women discover their talents and develop skills by offering job readiness training. With this stepping-stone toward success, the women will be able to support themselves and their families, and create stronger role models for future generations.
In order to overcome ingrained attitudes and behaviors that led to dysfunction, Women’s Bean Project provides ongoing support and coaching to help participants gain the life skills necessary to change their own lives. Regular coaching and mentoring sessions, skill building classes and weekly goal-setting exercises help participants move from chaos to a sense of personal stability. The workplace setting is used daily to reinforce the women’s need to accept themselves and develop a sense of personal responsibility and self-worth. Coaching and one on one mentoring helps the women to improve their self-esteem, control their impulses, learn realistic goal-setting and develop a support network.
Women’s Bean Project has helped women set a new course for their lives by moving out of dependency and into personal responsibility and self-reliance through on-the-job training, as well as stabilization and personal development services. When there is an opportunity to change one woman’s life, her family’s life is changed as well. Women’s Bean Project is creating a huge ripple effect, not just within the families of the women they serve, but in thr community as a whole. Over the last 25 years, the Bean Project has provided stepping stones to self-sufficiency to approximately 800 women and has positively affected the lives of more than 18,000 women and children.
Founded in 1997 in Nashville, Tennessee, Magdalene is a two-year residential community for women with a history of prostitution and drug addiction. Founded not just to help a sub-culture of women, but to help change the culture itself, Magdalene stands in solidarity with women who are recovering from sexual abuse, violence, and life on the streets, and who have paid dearly for a culture that buys and sells women like commodities. Thistle Farms began in 2001 as the cottage business of Magdalene, with the aim of helping women gain much-needed job skills and learn responsibility and cooperation. Thistle Farms is a supportive workplace where women acquire the skills they need to earn a living wage. It employs 45-50 residents or graduates, and through its Global partners, another 1,000 women are employed. Half of the leadership team of Thistle Farms are residents and graduates of the program.
The women of Thistle Farms make natural bath and body products that are good for the earth and for the body. They use premium, natural ingredients to create products that offer healing to themselves and the world. The women of Thistle Farms become specialists in the areas of manufacturing, inventory, book keeping, sales and office administration.
Thistle Farms reaches over 700 women yearly through residential program services, case management, referrals, legal services, the courts and general outreach. In the past year, they have paid over $800,000 directly to women survivors in paychecks. They have trained 2,500 advocates through their education program. They save their community over $700,000 each year through incarceration and arrest savings and contributions back to society. Last year the social enterprises surpassed $1,700,000 in revenue. Thistle Farms is on target to reach $2,000,000 in the coming year. 84% of women entering the program graduate two and a half years later clean and sober.