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Sep 20, 2017

Transparency and Advocacy Win Awards

Last week I had the privilege of presenting three awards to outstanding local social enterprises.  Sponsored by SocialVentures as part of the ASPIRE social enterprise event presented by Columbus Metropreneur, this year the awards were in three categories: Emerging Social Enterprise, Nonprofit Sustainability, and Social Enterprise of the Year.

The judges had a tough time selecting the three winners from among the nine highly-qualified finalists but their choices had one theme in common:  the judges were ultimately drawn to those social enterprises that excelled in the transparency and public representation of their social impact.  This facet of their work merits special recognition because too many social enterprises tell a very weak story about their social impact or fail to tell the impact story at all.

Here are the three social enterprises chosen by the judges and a short excerpt of the citation for each winner:

Emerging Social Enterprise of the Year Award As Columbus’ social enterprise community continues to grow at an exponential rate, this award is designed to recognize those promising social enterprises that have been operational for under a year.   The winner is the emerging social enterprise that demonstrates passion, persistence, and demonstrable progress in creating a strong product, a growing customer base, and a measurable social impact.  

The judges gave this award to Growlers Dog Bones and noted: “While steadily growing its sales, Growlers Dog Bones has highlighted in its labeling and sales pitches its impact on jobs for youth with disabilities and its functional re-use of brewery waste.  We particularly value that it is working at the Food Fort so that its employees can be in a public work environment and other Food Fort clients can see the productive work being done by this disadvantaged population.”

Nonprofit Sustainability Award Social enterprise can take many forms, including for-profit entities that support the work of established non-profits. The award goes to the nonprofit that has used social enterprise to meaningfully expand its nonprofit mission and its ability to tell the story of its enhancement of the sustainability of the nonprofit it supports. 

The judges gave this award to Equitas Health Pharmacies and noted: “We are particularly impressed with the tremendous transformation of mission which its social enterprise pharmacies have provided to Equitas Health, enabling it to extend quality healthcare beyond its historical focus on the LBGTQ population to now also provide healthcare to underserved neighborhoods and populations.”

Social Enterprise of the Year Award This recognition is awarded to social enterprises that have been operational for over a year and demonstrate a meaningful and well-documented social impact, have a business model that has proved successful, and have been influential in advancing the reputation and acceptance of social enterprise in Central Ohio.

The judges gave this award to Hot Chicken Takeover and noted: “This year’s winner has superbly demonstrated that a business can be financially successful while creating meaningful impact.  We are particularly impressed with the breadth of its efforts to educate its customers and investors about its social impact benefitting its employees as well as the extensive efforts of its Founder to speak publicly advocating for social enterprise and social impact.”

You can help us to support award programs of this type by donating to SocialVentures at The Big Give, the October 10 26-hour fundraising event when The Columbus Foundation waives all credit card fees and provides a partial match for each donation of $10 or more to SocialVentures.  

Allen Proctor, President & CEO, SocialVentures