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Eight Local Organizations Raise More Than $550,000 to Fuel Social Enterprises

Nonprofit organizations across Greater Hartford continue to face an increased demand for services while they struggle to raise adequate revenue. Some are working to meet this challenge through social enterprise: selling a product or service that complements their mission and reinforces the financial sustainability of the organization.

To support these efforts, the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving launched the Social Enterprise Accelerator in partnership with No Margin, No Mission, a national consulting firm dedicated to helping nonprofits increase their entrepreneurial capacity, revenue, and mission impact. The first cohort of ten nonprofits was launched in 2018; the second cohort of six nonprofits was launched in 2021, and now, a third cohort of eight nonprofits, launched in 2023, is engaged in the process. Collectively, the 24 organizations have generated more than $10 million in revenue to date from their ventures.

In late 2023, the Foundation announced a matching challenge for the third cohort: 100 percent of every dollar of startup or growth capital raised by the nonprofits (up to $30,000 per organization) would be matched by the Foundation. The eight organizations raised approximately $317,000 prior to the June 8 deadline making them eligible for more than $233,000 in matching grants from the Foundation.

Each organization held a “Fast Pitch” session where they presented their business plans to current and potential donors and made a direct ask for financial support for startup capital needs. The eight organizations are continuing to raise capital for their ventures.

“The enthusiasm and effort that nonprofit organizations have brought to the Social Enterprise Accelerator program has exceeded our expectations,” said Associate Director of the Hartford Foundation’s Nonprofit Support Program, Meher Shulman. “While the creative ideas these organizations have been building are truly exciting, we are even more impressed by their level of commitment to developing detailed and viable business plans. Nonprofits in Greater Hartford have an appetite for social enterprise and a need for new revenue sources; we are proud to help them meet that need.”

The eight nonprofit organizations and their social enterprises are:

  • AHM Youth and Family Services has raised $85,000 in growth capital (including $30,000 in Hartford Foundation matching funds) to expand its AHM Counseling Services for youth to meet the growing demand for youth mental health care.
  • Harriet Beecher Stowe Center has raised $100,000 in startup capital (including $30,000 in Hartford Foundation matching funds) to support its Stowe on the Go initiative that offers dynamic, expertly facilitated, DEI-informed conversations to promote relationship development, progress, and create more cohesive teams to businesses and nonprofits.
  • HartBeat Ensemble has raised $61,708 in startup capital (including $30,000 in Hartford Foundation matching funds) to support its Stories Toward a Beloved Community professional development services that utilize storytelling and theater-based practices as a framework for organizations to build more empathetic and just working communities.
  • Hartford’s Camp Courant has raised $65,000 in startup capital (including $30,000 in Hartford Foundation matching funds) to support The Pavilions at Camp Courant initiative that rents out the Camp’s meeting and event space to corporations and families when not in use by the camp.
  • Leadership Greater Hartford (LGH) has raised $60,523 in startup capital (including $30,000 in Hartford Foundation matching funds) to implement its Level Up Consulting and Training  By utilizing its LGH’s proven framework to optimize organizational culture and leadership transition, organizations can retain staff and build a pipeline for future leaders.
  • The Conference of Churches raised $71,164 in growth capital (including $30,000 in Hartford Foundation matching funds) to expand The 224 EcoSpace, a 30,000 square-foot incubator and innovation space for individuals looking to align their lives and businesses with their soul’s calling. EcoSpace provides an environment to explore innovation, elevate creativity, expand their business ideas, and collaborate with others for mutual growth and support.
  • Urban League of Greater Hartford has raised $47,000 in startup capital (including $23,500 in Hartford Foundation matching funds) to support Urban League Consulting, which offers clients policy reviews, best practices, and operating procedures to foster a culture that is inclusive of all constituents.
  • URISE Ventures raised $60,104 in growth capital (including $30,000 in Hartford Foundation matching funds to expand its Omni Print Plus a retail print, design, and marketing service with a dual mission to employ young creators, designers, and technologists and prepare them for future career success.

 

The Hartford Foundation for Public Giving is the community foundation for Hartford and 28 surrounding towns. Through partnerships, the Foundation seeks to strengthen communities in Greater Hartford by putting philanthropy in action to dismantle structural racism and achieve equity in social and economic mobility. Made possible by the gifts of generous individuals, families and organizations, the Foundation has awarded grants of more than $998 million since its founding in 1925. For more information, visit www.hfpg.org or call 860-548-1888.