Friday, May 14, 2010

When a Recession Breaks Your Heart: Homeboy Industries Lays Off 300 Employees

I just learned today from my friend Rudy Carrasco that Homeboy Industries in Los Angeles had to lay off 300 of their employees yesterday. That was almost their whole staff. I am really sad over this.

Over the last 11 years at Belay Enterprises, I have tried to model the passion and innovation that Father Greg Boyle deploys on behalf of individuals rebuilding lives. When I occasionally speak around the country on faith ventures, I often share Homeboy as one of the innovators of this unique form of business as mission.

Three years ago, I had the opportunity to work with Father Greg while organizing a Faith and Enterprise Pre-Conference for the Social Enterprise Alliance in Long Beach. He absolutely enraptured 100 people with his stories of life change in the numerous business ventures started to assist ex-gang members trying to rebuild lives. I remember thinking he should have been the keynote speaker for the whole conference.

Even during this tough time, Father Greg is already teaching about some of the mistakes they made which Rudy explores in his blog post from the story in the Los Angeles Times. This is helpful for the rest of us faith venture practitioners.

I am praying that somehow Homeboy Industries pulls through this tough time.

And I am mindful that some of the biggest successes come out of events that at one time appear to be failures. God loves to take "broken things" and make them beautiful.

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