Tag Archives: impact

5 ways to go back to school with social entrepreneurship

5 ways to go back to school with social entrepreneurship

By Kate Rood | LinkedIn

Kate is Beneficial State Foundation’s Community Engagement Officer based in Portland, OR.

It’s been three years since I turned in my last final for the MBA program at Portland State University. Enough time has passed that back to school season this year is making me long for the structure of homework and the camaraderie of classmates. The more I work on movement building to align our financial systems with triple-bottom-line business models, the more I want to learn about social entrepreneurship in action around the world. I think movement building benefits from an attitude of lifelong learning, of always going back to school in some way. Whatever social, economic or environmental justice issue you’re committed to serving, I invite you to join me in starting a brainstorm list or a doodle in your notebook and setting new goals for learning about the dynamic field of social impact business.

Here are 5 ideas for how to “go back to school” with social entrepreneurship and resources to explore.

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Oakland Indie Awards Vendor

A better bank is possible

A better bank is possible

“The power of storytelling is exactly this: to bridge the gaps where everything else has crumbled.” – Paulo Coelho

For the past ten years, Beneficial State has shown that a different type of bank—a beneficial bank—is possible. Our bank, through its unique model, produces meaningful social justice and environmental impacts, while remaining financially sustainable.

With $640 million in loans out in the community and more than 200 employees across three states, our efforts to share the impact of Beneficial Banking on our communities and planet are gaining traction–the Beneficial Banking movement is growing thanks to you who are aligning your money with your values and demanding better from the financial institutions intended to serve you. Collectively, we will transform the banking system to one that not only works for everyone, but to one that actually creates a just and inclusive society for all.

Collectively, we will transform the banking system to one that not only works for everyone, but to one that actually creates a just and inclusive society for all.

So, what separates Beneficial State from other banks?

For one, our triple bottom line, which doesn’t require our banks’ interests to be at odds with those of our customers–we’re working in collaboration with our customers and allies to heal our communities and our planet. Like Chapter 510, a youth literacy center in Oakland. And Patty Pan Cooperative, a worker-owned co-op farmer’s market stall and food catering service.  And Kirsop Farm, which grows and sells organic produce contributing to western Washington’s local food security and cultural identity.

For another, the bank’s economic interest is owned by a nonprofit foundation (Beneficial State Foundation), so we have zero private shareholders who might seek to maximize profit at the expense of our communities and planet.

And there’s our lending practice: we commit at least 75% of our loans to the new economy – and the remainder cannot work against our mission. And we’re totally transparency. You can read all about our lending and business practices here.

How do alternative bank models like this affect social change? What will it take to change the banking system for good? How can businesses and financial institutions work together to build an economy that is inclusive and equitable for all? In what ways can innovative financial products and services be used to combat social inequalities? What does “business for good” even mean?! These are just a few of the questions we’ll explore in our blog.

We invite you to join the conversation and share your thoughts as we highlight innovative solutions, share stories about social changemakers, and pose questions that will encourage you to think about the power of your dollars and how you can leverage that power to build a better world.

Jhana Valentine

Social and Environmental Impact Associate

Originally from Iowa, Jhana spent the last five years in Portland, Oregon pursuing a degree in environmental studies from Lewis & Clark College. Both personally and professionally, Jhana is passionate about community development through sustainable business practices.

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