New funding solutions for do-gooders

ENP comes to Toronto!

As more and more people get into the business of doing good, resources and opportunities are arising, slowly but surely, to meet the demand. For those established do-gooders (the great folks working in non-profits and charities) there’s some refreshing news on the financial front: There’s a new kid in town!

Enterprising non-profits (enp), a funding program established in British Columbia in 1997, has expanded to Toronto through the support of multiple partners and led by the Centre for Social Innovation.

A bit of background:
For non-profits and charities, funding is typically made possible through traditional channels such as grants from foundations, government programs and fundraising, which can often be unsustainable or resource intensive. How about turning a profit? Not possible given current, federal government restrictions — at least not to the extent that profits will have a real impact upon the viability of the organization.

In this sector that struggles to be sustainable and with an aging population that no doubt will create a greater demand on community services, new solutions must be found. One answer involves social financing — a realm that includes new applications of money to provide funding to those who seek to add revenue to their repertoire.

enp is an exemplary program in this regard. It provides matching grants of up to $10,000 to non-profits interested in establishing or expanding a revenue-generating stream — a side business, if you will — whose profits get turned back into the social mission. What started as a pilot program to support and learn from ten non-profits trying to diversify revenue sources has since helped launch over 50 social enterprises in British Columbia.

The goals of the program are to:

  • Support non-profit organizations to develop enterprises that are linked with their charitable mandate and contribute to organizational sustainability; and
  • Increase the capacity of non-profit organizations to improve socioeconomic conditions in their communities through the creation of employment or training opportunities and/or enhanced program provision.

The launch of the enp-Toronto pilot program at the Centre for Social Innovation was made possible through the support of the following program partners:

  • Alterna Savings
  • Carrot Cache
  • Citizens Bank
  • The Co-operators
  • Government of Ontario, Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration
  • Metcalf Foundation
  • SiG@MaRS
  • Social Capital Partners
  • Toronto Community Foundation
  • Toronto Training Board

Here’s hoping that others will follow the enp program, or models like it, so that more people can get into the business of doing good.

For further information on the ENP Program, visit enp-Toronto FAQ, the Enterprising Non-Profits website.