Showing posts from February, 2012


When you are pushing boundaries in the chaotic world of faith venture development, sometimes it's important to remind yourself about what is true, beautiful and unchangeable:   God is the eternal, independent, and self-existent Being; the Being whose purposes and actions spring from himself, without foreign motive or influence; he who is absolute in dominion; the most pure, the most simple, the most spiritual of all essences; infinitely perfect; and eternally self-sufficient, needing nothing that he has made; illimitable in his immensity, inconceivable in his mode of existence, and indescribable in his essence; know fully only by himself, because an infinite mind can only be fully comprehended by itself. In a word, a Being who, from his infinite wisdom, cannot err or be deceived, and from his infinite goodness, can do nothing but what is eternally just, and right, and kind.  Adam Clarke in Theological Institutes Now that's a liturgy of worship.

Faithventure Grace Period Offers Innovative Solution to the Perils of Payday Loans

Imagine trying to function in today's society without a bank account.  Individuals rebuilding lives from addiction, homelessness and prison face often face that reality every day as they attempt to rebuild their life from past mistakes. The simple need to cash a paycheck becomes a costly visit to a payday loan or check cashing company instead of an easy direct deposit into an existing low-cost bank account. And without the ability to save, the working poor become trapped in a costly catch 22 cycle of expensive payday loans to cover emergency expenses making it impossible to save. In Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, innovative faithventure Grace Period provides an answer to pay day loans. Working with area churches, the non-profit provides interest free loans of up to $500 if paid back within 13 days. If the borrower needs extra time, the organization will set up a payment plan, usually $50 a month as well as a mandatory savings account. My friend, Dr. Amy Sherman has written an e

Columbus Area Clean Turn Opens Property Service Faithventure

The large number of homes in foreclosure has created a faithventure opportunity to employ a significant number of chronically unemployed people in danger of homelessness. Late last year, Clean Turn announced the opening of its for-profit property service social enterprise. The company will partner with Columbus, Ohio, area non-profits working with individuals with significant barriers to employability such as C.R.A.C.K. House Ministries . The organization's new CEO, John Rush , is a former director of Chicago area Cleanslate where he spearheaded business growth that led to 200 jobs for ex-offenders. As its web site explains: CleanTurn is privately-held and for-profit.  CleanTurn is established on the emerging business model designed to produce a return on investment for its owners while addressing social needs.  CleanTurn will reduce the social costs of individuals who have high obstacles to employment, while providing premiere customized property services to its cu

Better Together: Enviro-Recycle Partners with Belay to Open Denver Mattress Recycling Faithventure

For several years Belay Enterprises has dreamed about opening a mattress recycling faithventure in Denver. We researched and planned...and got nowhere because we ran into a couple of problems that we found hard to overcome: First, we couldn't find a way to sell the polyurethane which is the major component harvested from dismantled mattresses. Instead, we were going to have to ship it to the coasts, an expensive proposition. Next, we were concerned about competition from an established recycler in the community. Would there be enough people willing to pay a disposal fee to recycle mattresses when dumping old beds in the trash was still largely free? Finally, we struggled with finding a partner to take the lead on the project. With several new initiatives underway at Belay , mattress recycling was dropping to the bottom of our priorities because of it's significant challenges. In order to move the idea forward, we needed someone with the passion to make it h

About Wages and People Rebuilding Lives from Addiction, Homelessness and Prison

In Denver, a living wage ranges from $8.64 an hour to $16.60 an hour depending on whether one is single or the primary wage earner in a family . In the various Belay programs we start people rebuilding lives at $8 an hour. While our heart is that all employees would be able to make a living wage, we've discovered over the years the value of being very intentional in how we structure our wages. We hire people rebuilding lives. Our interviewing process is very unusual . If you are qualified to get a job somewhere else, we want you to do that. Our positions are reserved for people who are shut out of the job market because of significant barriers to employability including addiction, homelessness and prison. When we do hire someone with that background, providing too high of an initial wage is actually counterproductive. There is value at staring over near minimum wage and proving your desire to work for the future. And then, over time,  receiving raises up to a wage of

Bud's Warehouse and Belay in the Denver Post

Last month I wrote about Tina Griego's January 8, 2012, column in the Denver Post exploring ex-offender employment issues . That article spoke movingly about the real life dilemmas faced by ex-offenders in today's economy. A few days ago, Bud's Warehouse's operation manager, Marcus Weaver attended a meeting on ex-offender issues and ended up sharing our organization's story with Ms. Greigo. She stopped by for a visit later in the week and included Bud's in her newest column that continues to explore ex-offender employment issues . Kudos to Marcus for being so passionate about the Belay mission and many thanks to Tina Griego and The Denver Post for shedding light on this important issue: "It's heartbreaking, really," says Jim Reiner, executive director of Belay Enterprises. "The No. 1 factor that determines whether ex-offenders will go back to jail is whether they have a job. Many employers aren't willing to be a felon's

Belay Update: A Busy Winter Growing Jobs

It's been an exciting start to the new year as Belay Enterprises strives to create self-sufficient faithventure businesses that provide jobs for individuals rebuilding lives from addiction, homelessness and prison. Please review the following quick rundown of happenings around Belay and consider supporting our new start-ups with a tax-deductible donation by visiting our online donation page here : We're delighted by the successful launch over the last six months of New Beginnings Custom Woodworks , our custom cabinet employment and job training program for ex-offenders. Everything is up and running with sales far beyond our initial projections. We're continuing to expand jobs and training opportunities for ex-offenders as we grow our customers for cabinet-making services. Our long dreamed of mattress recycling project has revived in a big way with a developing partnership with a group of entrepreneurs. Expect an announcement very soon of the opening of Colora

Purple Door Coffee Welcomed to the Belay Team

I am excited to welcome Mark Smesrud and Madison Chandler to the Belay team as they spearhead the development of Purple Door Coffee to employ young adults leaving homelessness in partnership with Dry Bones Denver . Over the next few months, they will be raising start-up funding as well as coordinating the numerous activities that need to be undertaken for an early fall opening. Mark has started sharing about his journey of opening a faithventure business here. I encourage you to check it out for a front row seat to watch this business as mission develop. Today, he writes about the idea of opening a "just business:" “It’s just business”. This is a statement people use when someone gets burned. Someone gets the short end of the stick. It’s become a qualifying statement for when someone has treated another individual as a business deal instead of as a human being. Because of this it seems that business has become something that is incongruent with the