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Magnifying Social Impact though Intentional Networking

Posted on February 19, 2015 in Chapter News

Chicago, IL- March 12, 2015 –Social Enterprise (SE) students and others who attend the Social Enterprise Alliance – Chicago (SEAC) Impact Hour will have the chance to develop their business ideas with founders of Chicago SEs.

Like traditional entrepreneurship, success in social entrepreneurship depends heavily on the network of relationships one builds. The knowledge and idea sharing with advisors, peers, even critics, help developing and refine successful enterprise models.

As a result, SEAC has decided to offer a promotion on its Impact Hours, inviting both members and non-members to attend free of charge. The first of the series of sessions will focus specifically on strategies to create the right kind of network. SE founders attending include Elizabeth Ames of EarlyVention, Mark Grazman of GhFITLAB, and Joanne Kappele of HippocraTeas.

“It’s a great way to kick off another year of building Chicago’s community of mission driven ventures,” said Belinda Li, Vice President of SEA-Chicago Board of Directors. “With international SE students attending, there will also be an opportunity to explore ideas that impact communities extending outside of the greater Chicagoland.”

Doors open at 6 pm with networking and check-in. Unlike many pure networking functions, this one will be followed by a debrief, with the key discussion starting at 7:20 pm.
Impact Hour is a collaboration with Social Enterprise Collaborative and Net Impact DePaul. It will take place at the DePaul Center, Room 8206, East Jackson Blvd. Chicago, IL 60604.


Stephanie Piccirilli Wernet, SEA-Chicago Board Director
Ph: +1.312.618.0238

SEA-Chicago is the Midwest regional chapter of the Social Enterprise Alliance (SEA). Working to build Chicago’s community of mission-driven ventures, SEA-Chicago offers development, mentorship, and networking to social ventures. The success of both the individual members as well as the unified alliance makes it clear that there is an intersection between economic opportunity and social impact.

For up-to-date event information, visit (Agenda attached.)

To learn more about Elizabeth Ames and EarlyVention, click here.
To learn more about Mark Grazman and GhFITLAB, click here.
To learn more about Joanne Kappele and HippocraTeas, click here


Washington State Chapter, 2014 a Foundation-setting Year

Posted on February 19, 2015 in Chapter News

from Steph Sharma,Partnership Development Director at LEAD the Difference & Chapter Chair of Washington State Chapter

Community Engagement
 The Social Enterprise Environment: If your chapter hasn’t heard, met or engaged Suzanne Smith, you might reach out to her. We engaged her in an initial dialogue about how to align for impact in the legislative environment, about where to begin. Our breakfast event took place in sponsored space supported by a legal team that advises social entrepreneurs in the Seattle Area. We had multiple CEO’s of long-standing social enterprises. We crowd-sourced 14 ideas for growing our state focus on building an SE environment.

[Photo: Suzanne Smith presenting at SEA WA breakfast on Creating a Thriving Social Enterprise Environment]Recognizing Social Impact: What better way to unite a community and to educate about the role of SEA than to recognize leaders making a difference! In December we engaged the leaders and change-makers from around the area in celebration of 5 featured women who are leading Social Enterprises: Rachel Maxwell - Community Sourced Capital, Megan Karch - FareStart, Stacy Flynn - Evernu, Joan Duffel - Committee for Children and Beth Kolko - ShiftLabs. Each leader opened with a 5 minute ‘story of their leadership’ and then lead circles of learning with participants rotating through all leaders inspiring lessons. We designed the event in partnership with the Women’s Network for a Sustainable Future and sponsors included WeWork and Bloom Societe

2014 marked the first full year as a chapter for Washington. In addition to building awareness about the ‘who’ and ‘what’ of SEA, board recruitment has been a priority. Cary Calkins will become our new Chair beginning in March. As a community leader with the Millionair Club Charity, his local presence and vision for increased awareness will help frame the next chapter for SEA WA. After three years of development, communication and advocacy as the organizing Board of Directors Chair, Steph Sharma will continue her leadership impact as the Vice Chair.


The Washington Chapter understands that the Northwest is unique in it’s affinity for social impact and hopes to advance impact in the area! Education through community engagement, largely from events and support to other organizations that support SEA, are priorities that serve our vision.


Our Vision: Washington State is a center for social enterprise engagement, innovative entrepreneurship, and community outreach. To that end, we are actively building the field of social enterprise through networking opportunities, educational forums, strategic partnerships, and impact legislation. We are passionate about creating a fertile social enterprise ecosystem for our communities.




FEI to Present at the Alliance for Strong Families and Communities Senior Leadership Conference

Posted on February 19, 2015 in Chapter News

FEI Behavioral Health, a social enterprise with a 35 year history and leader in workforce resilience from EAP to crisis management, will present a session to nonprofit executives at the upcoming 2015 Alliance for Strong Families and Communities Senior Leadership Conference in Clearwater Beach, Fla., running Feb. 21-24, 2015.

FEI’s President and CEO Ted Uczen, along with Sarah Proctor, CFO of ACH Child and Family Services, will co-present an innovative workshop, “The Social Enterprise Experience: Creating and Sustaining Earned Revenue that Drives Impact,” on Tues., Feb. 24, at 1:30 p.m. EST.

Defined by the Social Enterprise Alliance as “businesses whose primary purpose is the common good,” social enterprises have grown in popularity over the past few decades. They are a favored model of juxtaposing the commercial sensibilities of for-profit business with the social conscious of nonprofit institutions. Through real life case studies, this session will take a look at why social service agencies might start social enterprises, how to develop them, and how to sustain them over time.

Proctor will begin the workshop by sharing a case study on how ACH Child and Family Services created its social enterprise. She will also describe the agency’s business model and explain how the social enterprise is performing. Uczen will then provide a case study on how FEI Behavioral Health was able to sustain its social enterprise for 35 years. He will also describe how FEI was able to adapt, grow, and create impact through social enterprise, and will discuss lessons learned along the way.

As President and CEO of FEI Behavioral Health, Uczen directs all strategic aspects of the business and directly oversees all sales and marketing activities of the organization. FEI is a for-profit organization owned by the non-profit corporation, the Alliance for Strong Families and Communities. As such, Uczen holds a key management position on the executive leadership committee of the Alliance for Strong Families and Communities, and works directly with the other non-profit entities of the Alliance for Strong Families and Communities as well as hundreds of non-profit social agencies. He regularly supports these non-profit groups by helping define strategic sales and marketing opportunities that help grow revenue from non-traditional sources.

Proctor is Chief Financial Officer at ACH Child and Family Services in Fort Worth, Texas. Since joining the agency in 2006, she has guided the finance and accounting department through many stages of development. Growth and change have brought new professional learning experiences through acquisitions, capital renovation projects, and New Market Tax deals. In 2009, she was part of the ACH team that built a business plan and opened the Belltower Chapel and Gardens, a social business venture of ACH. Proctor has 25 years of business, accounting and financial management experience in industries that include agriculture, oil and gas, telecommunications, manufacturing and distribution, public accounting and nonprofit social services. 

To learn more about the 2015 Alliance for Strong Families and Communities Senior Leadership Conference or FEI’s presentation, visit here


CBAs: Opportunities to Grow Your Local SEA Chapter

Posted on February 19, 2015 in Chapter News

   from John Goldstein

For fifteen years, communities around the country have been organizing to ensure that taxpayer subsidized development yield measureable impacts for the citizens who pay for the subsidies. Community Benefit Agreements (CBAs) have been negotiated for big infrastructure projects like stadiums, arenas and transit projects. CBAs have also been used in smaller projects to mitigate the impacts of gentrification with provisions like affordable housing and support for small local businesses.

Several strategies have emerged that are closely linked to the social enterprise model. One of the most common is the negotiation of local hiring requirements for construction and permanent jobs created by new development. An effective jobs pipeline not only requires contractors and permanent businesses to hire locally, but also provides funding and support for the recruitment and training of local workers. In some cities, existing training entities are funded to provide these services. In other places, like Pittsburgh, the Hill District CBA funded the startup of a first source hiring center.

A second common CBA element is a requirement to contract with local, WBE and MBE enterprises. Developers who are party to this kind of agreement seek out local businesses to provide professional services, property management, security and other needed support. In addition, CBAs have included local procurement standards, providing local businesses a way to market goods like office supplies, construction materials and other commodities.

Perhaps the most overlooked connection between local enterprises and CBA coalitions is the increased local spending that arises from local employment on CBA projects. In places like Long Beach and San Jose, local businesses have advocated for CBAs as a way to increase wages and stimulate spending in the neighborhood economy.

There is huge potential for social enterprises to participate in CBA coalitions, negotiate CBA provisions to support social enterprise, and identify entrepreneurial opportunities that arise from CBAs. While social enterprises are not the “usual suspects” that a local CBA coalition might reach out to, most local coalitions would welcome the addition of a “small business” partner.

A local SEA chapter could participate in a CBA campaign as a chapter-wide activity. For example, there are several coalitions looking to attach community benefits to proposed new stadiums and arenas. Generally, taxpayer subsidies for these projects produce very little return to the communities most in need of jobs and economic development. A strong SEA contingent could advocate for specific social enterprise outcomes that enhance the impact for the neighborhoods in need and make the entire project more attractive.

We look forward to hearing from SEA chapters interested in further exploring CBAs.

John Goldstein is one of the nation’s most experienced community benefit campaigners. He currently consults with local groups on coalition building, campaign strategy and community benefits. He also publishes a weekly newsletter of current CBA news. You can reach him at



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