Golden Gate Community Inc.: Finalist's Statements

Social Capitalists

Golden Gate Community Inc.

Golden Gate Community Inc. (GGCI) offers 23 years of experience operating human services programs and over 14 years of experience operating social-purpose enterprises in San Francisco. GGCI works to transform the lives of approximately 150 youth and young adults per year, through jobs, training, housing, and communities of support.

GGCI clients are recovering from homelessness, addiction, and poverty. Because of their high-risk factors and negligible job experience, it is nearly impossible for these individuals to find employment and become economically self-sufficient. With GGCI's help, they are taking steps to rebuild their lives and achieve self-sufficiency.

GGCI Programs: Business Training, Advocacy, and Community

To fulfill its mission, GGCI operates three social purpose enterprises.

  • Ashbury Images (AI) provides custom silk-screened and embroidered apparel for large corporations, non-profits, universities, small businesses, and churches.
  • Pedal Revolution sells and services new and used bikes and accessories, and has been rated by the S.F. Weekly as "best bike shop" for three years in a row.
  • Grow Cafe at the California Academy of Sciences, newly opened in May 2004, is an innovative restaurant committed to environmental sustainability and food science education. Grow Cafe also caters to business meetings and special events.

GGCI believes that a transformed, sustainable life begins with the ability to get and keep a job throughout adult life. In addition to a job and paycheck, however, an individual needs a tangible vision of a positive future and support from a community to meet practical needs such as housing, educational achievement, health issues, and/or personal safety. For this reason, GGCI provides individual advocacy and community to all program participants.

One of GGCI's innovations in social mission is to create six-month job internships with clearly defined training programs that train at-risk youth in hard job skills (such as bike mechanics, screen printing, or food preparation) and job-readiness skills (such as teamwork, conflict resolution, and reliability).

In addition to the supervision of our business managers, each youth intern receives one-on-one support from GGCI Youth Outreach Workers to help them attain vocational, educational, and leadership goals and access general supportive services (such as medical assistance or educational grants). From the first day of the program, Youth Outreach Workers encourage clients to develop vocational, education, and leadership goals so as to reach beyond their limits, to release their potential, and to strive towards a higher quality future. There is a graduation ceremony for all clients who successfully complete the enterprise training internship.

GGCI has continuously refined and innovated its enterprise structure, which is uniquely designed to support the double bottom-line of financial self-sustainability and positive social outcomes. Each of the GGCI enterprises is led by a General Manager (GM) with the support of a Training Manager (TM). The GM's primary focus is business performance while the TM's primary focus is social outcomes, or training of the at-risk program participants employed in the enterprise. Of course, the GM and TM partner on-site to ensure that both the social and financial missions of GGCI are advanced.

Program Outcomes: Financial Performance and Social Mission

At GGCI, the professional experience of GGCI staff and the management structure of our programs are designed to support our double bottom line of financial performance and social mission outcomes.

As for financial outcomes, GGCI's three social purpose enterprises have total revenue of $2.5 million, which represents two-thirds of the agency's income. Our two older businesses are profitable while our newest business, opened in May 2004, is focused on expanding its customer base.

As for social outcomes, GGCI serves over 150 clients per year. Some long-term results for the social purpose enterprises include:

  • 75% of our at-risk clients remain employed two years after they leave.
  • Average monthly incomes two years after graduation are over 500% higher than levels prior to GGCI, from an average of $465 per month to $1,877 per month.

GGCI Goals: Increase Number of Clients Served and Deepen our Programs

GGCI's goal is to continue increasing the number of clients we serve in our social purpose enterprises, and to further deepen the level of services we offer these clients. Beyond employment and training, GGCI will continue to build on the critical work we do in providing 1:1 mentoring and advocacy to these at-risk youth and young adults, and in offering them a supportive community. This unique combination of employment, training, advocacy and community that GGCI provides is what enables our clients to literally transform their lives.

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The above information was provided by the profiled organization.