Thursday, April 30, 2009
I don’t know if Felony Franks includes faith in its venture but it certainly shares this forum’s commitment to creating employment opportunities for past felons. (And I find it amusing that Steve sent me the link a few days after my post on hot dog carts as a self-employment opportunity for felons.)
Jim Andrews, the founder of the Rescue Foundation in 2003 and owner of Andrews Paper Company in Chicago, seems to be a successful businessman who has caught a vision for felony employment. He shares his dream in a recent television interview on CBS 2 Chicago.
Thursday, April 23, 2009
To download the mp3, visit here. Or feel free to use the following player.
Grace and Peace-
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
"Denver is also home to other notable community wealth initiatives. The Urban Land Conservancy contributes to the surrounding community in a variety of ways, helping to secure land so that it remains affordable for schools, affordable housing, and office space for non-profits, while also providing financing and coordination to local community projects and initiatives. Another organization, Belay Enterprises, founded Bud's Warehouse, a career and life-skills training social enterprise that employs individuals rebuilding their lives from addiction, homelessness, or prison. Bud's Warehouse has since become a successful home improvement store and has now expanded to three additional locations." (More)
I am excited that our organization was unexpectedly included in this article about Denver. Community-Wealth.org is a well-respected informational project that seeks to publicize innovative community wealth building strategies around the country to help advance such efforts.
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
“Today's cart buyers are generally older and have more white-collar work
experience than was traditionally the case,” says Will Hodgskiss, president
and "top dog" at Willy Dog Ltd., a New York cart manufacturer. "People are
either buying these carts in anticipation of a layoff or to supplement their
incomes," he says. Willy Dog's sales are up 30% from March 2007.”
“Dogged Pursuit: Professionals Find New Livelihood Selling Frankfurters,” The Wall
Street Journal, April 9, 2009
The article shared that individual hot dog vendors in prime locations are earning up to $400 a day. One cart vending company, All American Hot Dog Carts Inc, offers a training program called Hot Dog University.
Monday, April 13, 2009
In the midst of this recession, Bud’s Warehouse has assisted in the process by which the government determines unemployment statistics. Over a year ago, we were randomly selected to provide employment data on a monthly basis. I found our selection ironic because our hiring priorities are so opposite that of more traditional businesses.
As a faith venture business, we intentionally seek to hire individuals who are unable to get jobs anywhere else because of addictions, homelessness or felony convictions. These are individuals who find it difficult to find a job in any type of economy. Yet, even in the midst of this recession, we’ve been blessed with the ability to continue to employ at similar levels as in the past. We are even looking at opportunities to expand our job-training hiring with the initiation of a cabinet manufacturing operation.
I suspect that our hiring data often puts us into the realm of a statistical outlier. While many companies have had to make tough decisions to downsize, God continues to enable us to make a difference for individuals rebuilding lives from extreme challenges in a difficult economy.
Sunday, April 12, 2009
N.T. Wright, Surprised by Hope, Harper One, 2008, p. 193.
Friday, April 10, 2009
Over the years, this has been one of my favorite discussions. Individuals rebuilding lives in our faithventure businesses have much to teach about how a loss can be transformed into victory.
After my question, heads immediately nodded and many gathered around the table were excited to share. A common theme quickly developed. Prison was the worst thing that had ever happened to several of the participants. But it ended up being a blessing in disguise.
For several individuals, prison stopped the cycle of drug abuse that was destined to end up in death. For another, prison ended poor decisions that would have eventually resulted in someone dying. Everyone agreed that prison was the place where faith bloomed because it was the location where brokenness was realized and the need for new life was understood.
We then slowly read the Matthew account of Jesus’ last days. We tried to focus on being in the story….experiencing what Jesus’ followers felt on that first Good Friday while attempting to temporarily forget how the story climaxes on Easter Sunday.
This was a terrible event. It was the death of the disciples’ hopes and dreams in the leadership of Jesus. The man they thought would lead the next chapter of Israel’s history as the Messiah was now being horribly tortured and killed.
We stopped reading after the burial of Jesus. We paused to experience the defeat and the questioning of Good Friday. And then we looked forward to Easter Sunday where the current story resolves into the bigger background story of Jesus’ victory over death.
We will continue to celebrate together early next week at work how our worst defeats become the path to our biggest victories.
Thursday, April 2, 2009
In January of 2000, Bud's Warehouse was still in the early stages of its start-up. On any given month, it was an open question as to whether the organization was going to succeed or fail. Unexpectedly, we received a call from Mark Koebrich at 9News wanting to do a sweeps month story on how Bud's was the best kept secret in Denver.
A month later the story aired on the best possible night. Denver was in the midst of its biggest snowstorm of the season so everyone was turning into the news to see the weather report for the morning. ER preceded the news with a much-hyped show about the death of a key character. It was the perfect storm for Denver NBC television viewership. I read a couple of weeks later that it was the biggest Denver audience for a show up to that point. And the next morning, with a foot of snow on the ground, Bud's Warehouse was circled by hundreds of people waiting to enter the store.
As they say, the rest is history. Overnight, Bud's sales grew by 400%. The organization was able to dramatically increase the number of individuals it employed rebuilding lives from homelessness, addiction or prison. Bud's also used its new-found profits to start-up 3 new ventures--Baby Bud's, the Good Neighbor Garage, and Freedom Cleaning Services-- to employ even more individuals.
So when I hear of ER's last show, I fondly remember how God used a television drama and 9News to help create second chances for hundreds of Denver area individuals.
I hear it might even snow.
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