Spring Round Up! Favorite Social Enterprise Products and Services of the Season

Ah, Spring. It's muddy, rainy, sunny, and if you're in Minnesota, snowy. It's a great time for spring cleaning, of course, and stocking up on other products needed for the season. I pulled together a list of some of my favorite Minnesota-based social enterprises - making it easy for you to do good this Spring. 

 

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Here's the low-down on a few of my favorites

1) DONATE ELECTRONICS TO TECHDUMP 

Do some much needed spring cleaning of something you might not expect: ELECTRONICS! Seriously, I've got a graveyard of old cell phones, miscellaneous cords and electronics with broken buttons... just begging to be donated to TechDump

This social enterprise provides "job training and practical experience for adults facing barriers to employment that prepares them to be more valuable employees with an expanding future." They are open every Saturday in April (9am-1pm) for simple spring cleaning. Check out their list of accepted items before you #TakeATechDump. <-- My favorite hashtag.

#TakeATechDump 

Not in Minnesota? Don't worry. TechDump is part of a national association of Impact Recyclersfind the location nearest you

2) DONATE APPAREL AND HOME GOODS TO ARC'S VALUE VILLAGE

Keep the awesomeness of spring cleaning a-rockin' and donate your non-electronics to Arc's Value Village. This social enterprise helps "make life better for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families." You can donate gently used items, then shop at the store and support their great mission. And, if you volunteer with them during the month of April, you can earn Rewards coupons, to be used on future purchases! Boom! 

Make sure you check the list of items they accept and do not accept before you donate! Bonus - You can donate your car to their Autos for Arc program.

Nowhere near an Arc's Value Village? Check out your local Goodwill thrift store - they are a social enterprise too, supporting people with barriers to employment!

3) DONATE MATTRESSES TO EMERGE

For a small fee ($15), you can donate your mattress to Emerge (formerly known as Momentum Enterprises) through their Second Chance Recycling business and training program. Mattresses and box springs that would have ended up in landfills are accepted at their Minneapolis location. Be sure to make an appointment so their staff can help with the unloading. The mattresses and box springs are dismantled and recycled - employing individuals with barriers in a transitional employment environment. 

4) DONATE BUILDING MATERIALS TO BETTER FUTURES MINNESOTA

Doing some MAJOR spring cleaning or remodeling? Donate your old building materials to Better Futures Minnesota. At their Reuse Warehouse, they accept lumber, windows, cabinets, sinks, countertops, doors, lighting, flooring, and more. When you shop at their warehouse or donate to Better Futures, you help support the men they serve, the community, and the environment. Make sure you check the Accept/Do Not Accept list before you show up with a truckload of stuff!

5) BIRD HOUSES BY ELPIS ENTERPRISES

Elpis Enterprises is a Saint Paul-based social enterprise "that provides job training, work experience and job placement for homeless or precariously-housed young people ages 16-23." Through several social enterprises, youth build skills, build experience and build relationships in the community.

Elpis has some super cool wood products, made from recycled cedar fencing - like this bird feeder or this little wren house! Oh, so cute!

They also have a full-service custom screen printing shop and online design studio, perfect for custom t-shirts for Spring volunteer clean up events, reunions or company picnics.

6) BUG SPRAY BY BAM ESSENTIALS

BAM Essentials supports young women from disadvantaged backgrounds, to learn work and life skills. The company sells organic and natural personal care products online through an Etsy shop - but the MUST HAVE for Spring and Summer is the bug spray.

This year, the bug spray is amped up with extra essential oils to repel ticks - and still has the other essential oils to repel mosquitos, flies, gnats, spiders, and other little pests. {Full disclosure: This is the social enterprise I launched in 2015!}  

7) CATERING SERVICES BY BREAKING BREAD CAFE

Breaking Bread Cafe & Catering has catering services! Start thinking about graduation parties, family events or any catering event with a minimum of 10 people! Breaking Bread Cafe & Catering is owned by Appetite for Change. They use "food as a tool building health, wealth, and social change in North Minneapolis. AFC is a community-led organization that strengthens families, creates economic prosperity, and encourages healthy living." Plus - they've got a ton of FREE recipes on their website! Mmmm, Strawberry & Spinach Salad... {salivating}

8) SPRING COOKIES BY COOKIE CART

Speaking of salivating... Put a little spring in your step with Cookie Cart's Spring cookies! Each sugar cookie is hand decorated by a member of their youth staff, giving them the opportunity to learn the skills needed to prepare for their futures.

How are you celebrating social enterprises this Spring? Let me know in the comments!


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: BETH PALM, MBA

Hi there! I'm Beth. I'm here to equip social entrepreneurs and change makers like you with the tools to change the world. As a jack-of-all-trades nonprofiteer and recognized social enterprise expert, I've walked the talk in this emerging industry. With over a decade of experience launching and managing social enterprises, I want to share my best tools, resources and knowledge with you.

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