How We Work
At REDF, we look at our philanthropic activities as investments, and we expect to see a return on our investments measured by jobs, changed lives and reduced public costs.
We invest as if we were venture capitalists, using the same hands-on, fully-engaged approach.
As venture philanthropists, we work with a portfolio of well-run nonprofits, providing money, business assistance and staffing.
We carefully select a portfolio of nonprofit organizations that are in the early stages of starting or running revenue-generating businesses that intentionally employ those most disconnected from the workforce.
We provide equity, we design and help execute plans for growth, we strengthen operations, and we measure results.
We build bridges between for-profit businesses, nonprofits, socially-focused capital markets, and government agencies to create more durable job opportunities and entry points to the workforce.
A Market-Based Approach
The original portfolio of organizations we worked with over many years – Community Gatepath, Community Vocational Enterprises (CVE), Juma Ventures, New Door Ventures, and Rubicon Programs – have created thriving social enterprises. They:
- Deliver needed goods and services
- Provide jobs to more than 600 people each year (3,700 to date and counting)
- Meet financial goals ($12 Million in total revenues in 2007 and growing)
- Employ people who have been shut out of the workforce
We Measure Our Impact
We know our approach is effective because we measure its impact. REDF assesses outcomes, and adjusts strategy based on the data.
One of our signature contributions to the field was to help define the notion of “social return on investment” (SROI) and apply it to our portfolio of investments.
REDF’s measurement approach is a unique blend of two elements:
- Results for people – jobs acquired and retained, wages and benefits increased, and quality of life improved
- Benefits to society – increased social mobility and success; decreased costs of homelessness, criminal recidivism and joblessness
We Share What We Learn with Others
We publish in leading journals. We are known for the usefulness and depth of our tools. We proactively share lessons through presentations at national conferences, on our resource-rich website, through teleconferences and other communication vehicles.
View this short video to learn more about how REDF works with the portfolio.
To view a larger version of the video, please visit our YouTube page.