Efforts

Social Enterprise Initiatives

"The community of believers was of one heart and mind, and no one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they had everything in common." Acts 4:32

The Problem

Catholic Charities is expanding its support in the field of social enterprise initiatives: revenue-generating business ventures that also advance a positive social mission. Research shows that employees of social enterprises make significant gains toward economic self-sufficiency and life stability in the areas of housing and income. At the same time, reliance on government funds decreases.

Learning financial strategies is an affordable, accessible solution that promotes the stability of individuals, families and future generations.

Our Approach

Across the country, Catholic Charities agencies are creating social enterprises that focus on providing direct employment opportunities for clients and/or providing important services or products - such as housing, healthcare, food, or transportation - which benefit vulnerable populations within the community.

  1. Providing asset development activities related to financial empowerment, including how to start or grow a small business or self-employment opportunity.

  2. Expanding client access to entrepreneurship training and savings programs.

Approach to Advocacy

At the national level, CCUSA advocates for measures that increase the availability of living-wage jobs and asset-building for low-income families, eliminate predatory lending, expand the Earned Income Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit, and ensure an adequate safety net to support those in crisis and those who are most vulnerable in our society.

We use the experience of member agencies that are working with families in need to advocate for policy changes.

The Impact

Catholic Charities agencies help clients not only to become self-sustaining but also to buildup their communities.  In 2016, clients from one established program launched 54 businesses. Over the first 10 years in this one agency, the program created 424 new businesses (averaging more than 50 new businesses per year for the last five years). Of these, the diversity of business ownership is remarkable:

  • 69% Female owned

  • 79% Hispanic owned

  • 17% African American owned