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Government Is Broken, But There Is Another Way to Heal What Ails Us

July 9, 2013 – “Government Is Broken, But There Is Another Way to Heal What Ails Us” in The Baltimore Sun by Vann R. Ellison

The subtitle says it all: “Social welfare organizations can fill in where partisanship has eroded the safety net.”  The article concludes: “[S]ocial enterprises are transforming communities in Main Street America. No law or government program can match the dedication of committed members of a community. I am the CEO of an organization that started as a homeless shelter. Years later, we realized the permanent value we can provide to our community was not temporarily housing people, but providing work in our catering and thrift-store operations.

Baltimore-based Second Chance, Inc. creates “green collar” jobs by taking apart buildings that would otherwise be demolished and dumped in a landfill. The organization then offers the reclaimed materials to the public at a discount, helping fund job training and workforce development programs. Salvaged items available for sale range from rolls
of chain link fence to marble fireplace mantels.

Instead of waiting on a top-down solution that may never come, the social enterprise model is a community-driven approach that turns profits, attracts investors and solves social problems. The next evolution in combating poverty is not an uncertain leap with a massive new government program, but a series of deliberate steps in communities
throughout our country.”