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Participants in Hartford Foundation for Public Giving Inaugural 2019 Cohort Generated $2.5 million in Revenue to Support Their Missions

In 2019, ten local nonprofit organizations participated in the first class of the Social Enterprise Accelerator, a 30-month process to strengthen their entrepreneurial capacity by launching or growing revenue generating ventures that are mission-aligned. Administered by the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving’s Nonprofit Support Program, each organization developed and implemented business plans to boost revenue and heighten their mission impact, with the guidance of No, Margin, No Mission, a national consulting firm that helps nonprofits become stronger and more vibrant through earned income, social enterprise, and entrepreneurial practices. To date, these organizations have collectively generated more than $2.5 million in revenue from their social enterprise projects.

Now a second class of six nonprofits has been chosen to participate in the Social Enterprise Accelerator 2021. Each of these organizations attended a series of learning labs and consultations with No Margin, No Mission over the past summer, after which they applied to be part of this group. Over the next two and a half years, the six organizations will learn from one another as they build and execute their business plans and launch or grow their ventures.

One of the participants in the first class was The Open Hearth, the oldest continually operating housing program for men experiencing homelessness on the East Coast. In 2016, they created Open Hearth Works, a social enterprise providing contract labor for businesses and events in Greater Hartford, including maintenance and trash removal, parking and concessions, snow removal and yard cleanup. Most importantly, it provides men and women with paying jobs that build skills and provide invaluable job experience—all while generating additional revenues for The Hearth.

In 2019, Open Hearth Works was selected to be a part of the first Social Enterprise Accelerator cohort. Despite significant COVID-related challenges, Open Hearth Works has adapted to changes in the job market, expanded its offerings, and provided more people with paying jobs that include opportunities for advancement, thanks in part to what they learned in the Accelerator program.

“We started Open Hearth Works after seeing how so many of our residents were doing all the right things yet were still having doors shut in their face,” said The Open Hearth executive director Marilyn Rossetti. “The training and coaching we received in the Social Enterprise Accelerator allowed us to significantly expand our program and offer more people jobs that have made a real difference in their lives.”

The following organizations have been selected to participate in the Social Enterprise Accelerator 2021:

  • CT Data Collaborative
  • End Hunger CT!
  • Hartford Food System
  • Health Equity Solutions
  • Noah Webster House & West Hartford Historical Society
  • YWCA Hartford Region


“The Social Enterprise Accelerator has served as a platform for nonprofits to learn and take the evolutionary steps necessary to become thrivable, sustainable organizations with greater impact in our region,” said Melanie Tavares, Director of Capacity Building and Nonprofit Support. “The leadership, willingness, readiness, capacity and culture demonstrated by this cohort will facilitate their efforts to strengthen their entrepreneurial capacity through this exciting and intensive 30-month process. Congratulations to these enterprising nonprofits, and thanks to all the organizations that participated in the learning labs!”

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 $849 million since its founding in 1925. For more information, visit or call 860-548-1888.