Social Enterprise: Itasca County Area

Call for Applications

The Nonprofits Assistance Fund, with support from Northwest Area Foundation and Blandin Foundation, is pleased to announce a new social enterprise initiative for nonprofits in Itasca and surrounding counties in Fall 2017.  Applications are now closed - watch here for future opportunities as they become available.

Industries, Inc.

What is Social Enterprise

A social enterprise is an organization or initiative that marries the social mission of a non-profit or government program with the market-driven approach of a business.” (Social Enterprise Alliance) Nonprofits are becoming more entrepreneurial and are furthering their mission by developing social enterprises to generate earned revenue to add to their mix of revenue sources, while for-profit organizations are looking for ways to integrate socially responsible business into their portfolios.

About this Program

Nonprofits Assistance Fund, in partnership with the Initiative Foundation, developed the Financial Resiliency through Social Enterprise program. With the long-term goal of building the sustainability of nonprofits to further their missions, the goal of this social enterprise initiative is to assist nonprofits in the successful launch or growth of a social enterprise. The program is designed to achieve this goal by addressing common challenges for developing social enterprise, and to foster learning that can be applied in the real world. The program combines developmental training, staff technical assistance, business plan support, and grants to support staff time and obtain specialized consulting.

Why Social Enterprise

It is often difficult for small and mid-sized nonprofits, particularly those led by and serving communities of color and immigrant communities, to expand services because of revenue constraints. This challenge provides a perfect opportunity to advocate for social enterprise as an alternative revenue source for community-based nonprofits.


Eureka Recycling

This Social Enterprise Program Provides Participants:

  • Five daylong, intensive, cohort-based trainings that are complemented by expert business consulting and technical assistance to help nonprofits explore social enterprise
  • The 5 learning sessions cover the fundamentals of social enterprise, market analysis, competitive analysis, financial capacity, legal structures, business planning, and marketing
  • Each session builds around a component of the business plan, and participants work on their plans between sessions
  • The cohort serves as peer reviewers and supporters
  • Participating organizations receive a planning/implementation grant of $10,000 that can be used to support some staff time and for enterprise equipment or specialized consulting or professional services

You are an Ideal Candidate for this Social Enterprise Cohort if Your Nonprofit Organization:

  • Already has started to consider or explore social enterprise as a revenue option, or has a social enterprise you wish to expand or optimize
  • Has an operating budget between $250,000 and $5,000,000
  • Is located in Itasca County, Minnesota or in that area
  • Is a 501(c)3 nonprofit
  • Serves low-income communities of color, Native communities, or immigrant communities, or is focused on reducing poverty or creating jobs
  • Is eager and interested in participating in, and contributing to, a cohort of organizations to explore and evaluate social enterprise together as peers and learning partners
  • Has a board, leadership team, staff and volunteers ready and willing to invest the time and energy needed to explore social enterprise. Participants (preferably 5 from each organization) must include the CEO, at least one additional staff person, and at least one board member

Rural Renewable Energy Alliance

Important Dates and Deadlines:

  • Selection of participating organizations will take place by Friday, May 26, 2017with notification occurring the following week.
  • Training sessions will be daylong and take place on September 6, October 18, and November 29 in 2017, and January 10 and April 25 in 2018.
  • The trainings will be held at Blandin Foundation, 100 North Pokegama Avenue, Grand Rapids, MN.
  • If you have questions, contact [email protected]

“Everyone at Nonprofits Assistance Fund is knowledgeable and accessible. The staff is there to answer our questions or point us in the right direction”

Julie Guy, Director at Sojourner Truth Academy