On Wednesday, AEI hosted Carla Javits, president and CEO of REDF, for a discussion with AEI’s Robert Doar about the role of social enterprises in the fight against poverty. Social enterprises operate as businesses but focus on not only profit but also training, supporting, and employing individuals with high barriers to traditional employment such as low education, limited work history, and previous incarceration or drug use. AEI President Arthur C. Brooks introduced the discussion by highlighting social enterprises’ ability to provide more than just sustenance but also dignity and a path out of poverty.
Ms. Javits and Mr. Doar followed with a conversation about REDF and the social enterprises it supports. Ms. Javits stressed that while much of our society has accepted that some people cannot work, the vast majority of these individuals want to work and do so effectively when put in the right situations. Social enterprises can work as a self-sustaining system, providing the marketplace with desired products and successful workers. They have produced impressive results and should be an important piece of a social safety net that promotes and enables work and dignity.
— Kyle Craft
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As policymakers and researchers look for solutions to the low levels of employment among prime-working-age Americans, social enterprises have offered an innovative approach: investing in purpose-driven businesses that hire, train, and assist people facing barriers to work. These organizations combine the knowledge, resources, and revenue models of the business community and the mission of the nonprofit world to help struggling individuals find work. What can policy, nonprofit, and business leaders learn from the practices and national impact of social enterprises?
Join AEI for this Philanthropic Freedom Project event as Robert Doar and Carla Javits, president and CEO of REDF and a national leader in the social enterprise movement, discuss the promise of social enterprises and the best strategies for helping low-income individuals build their lives.
If you are unable to attend, we welcome you to watch the event live on this page. Full video will be posted within 24 hours.
Registration and lunch
Arthur Brooks, AEI
Robert Doar, AEI
Carla Javits, REDF
Event Contact Information
For more information, please contact Andrew Smith at [email protected], 202.862.5937.
Media Contact Information
For media inquiries or to register a camera crew, please contact [email protected], 202.862.5829.
Robert Doar is the Morgridge Fellow in Poverty Studies at AEI, where he studies and evaluates how free enterprise and improved federal policies and programs can reduce poverty and provide opportunities for vulnerable Americans. Before joining AEI, Mr. Doar worked for Mayor Michael Bloomberg as commissioner of New York City’s Human Resources Administration, where he administered 12 public assistance programs, including welfare, food assistance, public health insurance, and help for people living with HIV/AIDS. Before joining the Bloomberg administration, Mr. Doar was New York State commissioner of social services, helping make New York a model for the implementation of welfare reform.
Carla Javits is president and CEO of the Roberts Enterprise Development Fund (REDF), a national nonprofit venture philanthropy and intermediary that is leading the effort to create jobs and employment opportunities for people facing significant barriers to work. Through her stewardship, REDF has expanded from the San Francisco Bay Area throughout the US, helping improve the lives of thousands of people in need of jobs by investing capital and expertise in social enterprises. She focuses on achieving measurable results by building partnerships and systems to provide a business solution to joblessness among those overcoming the most significant challenges. Before coming to REDF, she was the president and CEO of the Corporation for Supportive Housing, a national intermediary and community development financial institution. She was previously with the California Office of the Legislative Analyst and the San Francisco Department of Social Services, and she has worked in hospitality. Ms. Javits holds a B.A. and a master’s in public policy from University of California, Berkeley. She serves on the board of directors of the Social Enterprise Alliance and the Melville Charitable Trust and on the National Advisory Council of the Center for the Advancement of Social Entrepreneurship at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business. She is a member of the advisory committee of The Philanthropic Initiative and the national advisory board of the Insight Center for Community Economic Development.