Throughout my research in a string of beach towns and rural inland communities along a stretch west and south of Tallahassee known as the Forgotten Coast, I directly observed nonprofits relying upon donated funds, supplies and labor to meet housing and other needs not being met by flood insurance or government funding.
In this guest column, we embrace the other function, namely that nonprofits serve as a venue for people who share particular community values to gather and jointly articulate those values. For us to understand this expressive function, we first need to unpack our taken-for-granted labels for these organizations. Why, for example, do we name these organizations for what they are not – nonprofit or nongovernmental – rather than what they are or what they do?
In a nutshell, social entrepreneurship is the application of enterprise thinking and applications to solving social problems. Social enterprises vary in size and scope, ranging from the for-profit multinational Newman’s Own food company, which generates $600 million in sales annually, to local coffee shops such as Tallahassee’s non-profit Red-Eye Coffee.