Community Vocational Enterprises: Finalist's Statement

Social Capitalists

Community Vocational Enterprises

At CVE Inc. (Community Vocational Enterprises), we believe everyone should have the opportunity to work. This mission has guided us since our inception in 1986. CVE addresses the vocational needs of San Franciscans, ages 16 and over, living with psychiatric disabilities. Our clients are extremely low-income individuals from diverse ethnic backgrounds. Many are homeless or at risk of homelessness, ex-offenders, and/or have a history of substance use. Using a unique combination of support services and on-the-job-training in CVE's four owned and operated businesses -- a clerical service, two cafes, and a full service janitorial business -- we provide our clients with opportunities to develop the skills and confidence necessary to secure meaningful community employment.

To date, CVE's programs have yielded impressive results. With support from REDF, we used an outside consultancy, BTW Consultants, to track the impact CVE has had on the over 400 clients we serve annually. BTW's report shows that 17-28 months after clients started employment in a CVE business enterprise:

  • 71% were still employed after graduation from CVE.
  • Client income went from 23% earned income with the remaining 77% coming from public benefits to the reverse, with earned income accounting for 77% of clients' total monthly income.
  • Wages went from an average of $6.27 per hour to an average of $9.40 per hour

Another indication of our success is that over 30% of our current staff are CVE graduates.

While we are very proud of these numbers, equally important are the less quantifiable outcomes of CVE's work. Employment provides individuals with a sense of identity, accomplishment, and pride. Quotes from our clients highlight these intangibles:

  • "Without CVE, I would still be on the streets. CVE put me on solid footing. They were very instrumental in not only my professional growth but my personal growth as well."
  • "CVE gave me power and confidence. I am now a contributing member of society and have financial independence. CVE changed my life."

Financially, personally, and professionally, CVE's clients derive lasting benefits from participation in our program.

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The above information was provided by the profiled organization.