Social Enterprise

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Social Enterprise: 50 Years in the Making

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"Liberty requires opportunity to make a living - a living which gives a person not only enough to live by, but something to live for."  - Franklin Delano Roosevelt

John DuRand wasn't thinking of history when he founded MDI in 1964.  His objective was simple - and is still realized today - providing job opportunities for people with disabilities.  These are, to coin a phrase "real jobs", jobs that develop self-sufficiency and independence.  Jobs at MDI pay at least minimum wage with benefits, in an inclusive setting where approximately 50% of the employees are people disabilities and 50% without.  These opportunities bring people with disabilities out of the shadows and into the community, to contribute and participate, in the social and economic life of their neighborhoods. 

That simple beginning 50 years ago has evolved to become a viable business model identified as Social Enterprise.  It is now recognized as a business model that addresses a social need, the principles taught at the business schools of Stanford, Yale and Oxford.

MDI took a less academic approach 50 years ago, and has been fine-tuning and overhauling the concept ever since.  That work has been systematized in The Affirmative Enterprise, written by John DuRand in 1990.  It reveals not only the foundational values of the model, but a host of operational and administrative guidance for the professional taking on such a venture. 

This blog will be introducing content from The Affirmative Enterprise.  The book can also be purchased by contacting Ruth Hritzko at MDI [651-888-8200].  Future blogs will excerpt concepts from Chapter 1 as well as add the perspective from the daily practice of a social enterprise.