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Milestones as Motivation

We’re halfway there. Two and a half years into our five-year strategic plan.

I’m a big believer in the importance of milestones, a reminder of how far you’ve gone, and motivation to help you get to where you’re going. For us, that’s all the way to an economy that works. For everyone. 

With the release of our Impact Report, which shares our progress from 2021 through 2022, there are several milestones to celebrate. 

Most notably, our partner employment social enterprises have earned and reinvested over $2B in revenue and opened the door to employment for more than 100K people. 

We’ve also made significant strides on our strategic plan priorities. Thanks to the grit of the social entrepreneurs we back and the generosity of donors who invest in our proven approach, we’ve:

Expanded the Field and Our Regional Footprints

In the first two years, we’ve partnered with the same number of businesses as we did over our entire previous five-year period while expanding our reach in key regions. These burgeoning businesses and the entrepreneurs who lead them can reveal and reinforce the talents of neighbors who are breaking through employment barriers, while also sharing their learnings with our 200-strong REDF Community. By continuing to expand our footprint, our goal is to ensure employment social enterprises have a foothold in every community across the country. 



Prioritized Proximate Leaders

Many of the estimated 10 million Americans sidelined from our economy aren’t just working to break through employment barriers, they’re working to push past biases and other hurdles caused and compounded by inequities in our systems. Leaders who’ve “lived it” are leaders who leverage their experiences to point to what’s possible and devise solutions that stick. In the last two years, 42% of the leaders we’ve backed bring that lived experience to the table. Our goal: continue to prioritize, back and learn from leaders with lived experience. 


Provided Capacity Building that Amplifies Impact 

Pairing our investments with curated capacity building is part and parcel of our approach. At a macro level it’s a combination that drives sustainable growth for employment social enterprises (67% of ESEs we supported improved their financial sustainability year-over-year) while amplifying their impact. At a micro level it means working closely, with and for our employment social enterprise partners, to move the needle on what each business needs most to balance purpose and profit. 


Secured a $25M Investment in California ESEs

For REDF, advocating for public investment in the proven success of the employment social enterprise field is not legwork. We love it. No matter the constituency, employment social enterprises are good for the community, taxpayers, and our society. In 2022, we co-sponsored legislation that funds the nation’s first statewide investment in the power of employment social enterprise, CA RISE. Now, our goal as program lead, is to show how this significant investment will springboard the growth of the sector and transform our communities. 


As we hydrate for the second half of the strategic period, we’re staying the pace, encouraged by what our shared progress both signifies and signals. Employment social enterprises and the individuals they employ represent all the promise and potential that must no longer be on the bench. From a major state to major corporations to major donors, these investments signal the tremendous strength of the employment social enterprise movement to transform our society. 

Here’s to the next two and a half years, and its milestones. Off to the races.


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