July 22, 2016

Investing in Social Enterprise! Please Help

As many of you know the Well has been in a time of serious discernment about the future of our work with and among the poor here in Tampa. In our last few quarterly newsletters we tried to paint the picture and explain some unfortunate external reasons for considering changes as well as some hard won internal lessons for charting a different course forward.  It's been a really exciting season for the team to reflect and pray and really consider what, among the many things we do, really meets specific needs, helps to build bridges, and really produces the opportunity for the fruitful relationships that we are here to build. 

Among the handful of things that we see coming, our family has been sensing a strong calling toward building small social enterprises that help develop marketable skills, earned income opportunities and also give us a chance to work shoulder to shoulder with one another in meaningful labor, which is where the deepest relationships are forged. Over the last several months we have started a small property services company, we have made a few small sales of produce that we grew in our aquaponics system to a local restaurant and we are eager to work hard at building such opportunities as we move forward. 

A few from our team just visited a community in Birmingham that has launched several successful businesses that serve to offer opportunities for work and relationship with those in the city that need it. While this may mean they work with a smaller number of folks at any given time it also makes for the possibility of deep and qualitative work with the individuals they do work with. That excites us and we want to do likewise. We know we have a lot to learn in this regard and it is why we visited. Our goal for the summer was to visit and learn from others who have done similar work. 

Next up, another small team of us are traveling to LA! Primarily, we are going to join Homeboy Industries for their Homeboy Global Network Conference. The video above is an awesome introduction to what they do. This gathering brings together a variety of non-profits, institutional, and government agencies to learn more about their social enterprise business model that is providing hope, training, and support to men and women working to reclaim their lives. 

Since getting to LA is expensive and we would rarely have the chance to be there, we decided to go about a week early to leave some time to visit places like The Catholic Worker LA, The Dreamcenter, Ron Finley (we hope), the No Estas Solo Refugee Center, and a few other social enterprises like Black Coffee

While this trip is a clear investment in our team and its future, it is also an expensive line item that is out of the ordinary on our annual budget. If you would like to help invest with us we would be so very grateful as we are working hard to not let our immediate expenses slow down any of our ongoing commitments. We do have a handful of other pressing needs though here we are specifically asking your help with this expense. 

Overall we hope to raise $3,000 to cover airfare, lodging, food, and the conference itself. 
Please contribute if you can. Any amount would be greatly appreciated. 

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