Showing posts from November, 2013

Bud's Warehouse Enters Its 20th Year...and Other Highlights from the Second-Half of the Year

It's been a busy year as  Belay Enterprises  creates self-sufficient  faith venture  businesses that provide jobs for individuals rebuilding lives from addiction, homelessness and prison:    Bud's Warehouse  is entering its 20th year of offering employment and job-training in its home improvement thrift store. Since its start in 1994, Bud's has served hundreds of individuals looking to rebuild their employability after dealing with addiction, homelessness or prison. Belay hopes to celebrate this 20 year milestone by raising funds in order to expand Bud's into a new location to grow employment opportunities for the people we serve. Belay's  Purple Door Coffee project ,which launched in May of 2013, continues to  thrive as we employ formerly homeless young adults. The store opened to tremendous support from the Denver community as well as accolades from area coffee  aficionados. But most of all, Belay is excited by the difference the project is making in the l

Grand Rapids' Professional Services Business Provides Employment and Training for At-Risk Youth

Building Bridges Professional Services employs at-risk Grand Rapids' young people in a venture that provides lawn care, landscape design, home renovations/remodeling, snow removal, and other services.  This innovative project results from a partnership between Urban Family Ministries , Tabernacle Community Church , and Bethany Christian Services and aims to provide valuable paid work experience and leadership training.  Since its inception in 2007, Building Bridges has provided employment to more than 60 at-risk youth while currently maintaining more than 300 properties in the community.   Its program was heavily influenced by a 2007 study that discovered that at-risk youth involved in a holistic employment program were 6 times less likely to become incarcerated, 4 times less likely to become homeless or receive public assistance, and 50% more likely to be employed in the future.

The Rise of Innovative Capital Markets for Social Enterprise

The lack of investment capital for social enterprises holds back the growth of this blossoming sector. As much as social enterprises would like to set themselves apart from the giving model of traditional philanthropy, the lack of a pure profit motive when solving societal problems hampers the resourcing of new projects. In our organization, Belay Enterprises , we seek to create ventures that employ and job train individuals rebuilding lives from addiction, homelessness and prison. We are constantly uncovering great new potential projects that are only limited by our ability to fund their start-up. If a consistent social capital market were developed, it could greatly benefit our efforts. Unfortunately, that is easier said than done because social change doesn't easily pay investment dividends. So it's with great interest that I am watching the development of social impact funds by investment banks like Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley. They are built on the assumption that

New Baylor University Study Finds Faith Decreases Crime and Recidivism

I have long written about my belief that employment and job-training for ex-offenders is key to lowering the recidivism rate. An even better approach combines faith with employment-based job-training like we pursue at Belay Enterprises . A new study from Baylor University shows that religious faith decreases crime and recidivism among offenders. This study provides empirical evidence of what many faith-based practitioners already know: faith is a key part of successful outcomes for ex-offenders. Until recently there has been a lack of consensus about the nature of this relationship between religion and crime. Based on our exhaustive review of studies utilizing vastly different methods, samples, and research designs, increasing religiosity is consistently linked with decreases in various measures of crime or delinquency. As expected, these findings are particularly pronounced among the more methodologically and statistically sophisticated studies, especially those relying upon nation

Denver's Save Our Youth Mentoring Program Starts Master Apprentice Program

With the decline of shop classes in high schools, there are few opportunities for young adults not headed to college to learn the trades, especially for young men without the benefit of involved fathers. This fall, Save Our Youth mentoring opened The Master's Apprentice in Denver to employ and train men in furniture making while providing mentoring to develop life-skills and faith. This faith venture seeks to become self-sustaining through the sale of its products to the public. The Master's Apprentice is producing beautiful furniture as its website details: The Master’s Apprentice handcrafts each piece of heirloom quality furniture using solid hardwoods such as cherry, maple, oak, and alder which are sustainably harvested from well managed forests.  These traditional hardwoods are used along with new urban style furniture made from beetle kill pine and repurposed lumber.  We offer these distinctive artisan pieces that are of clean and simple design with soli