Howard Magazine editor: My education in social enterprise

August 31, 2011

When writer Lisa Kawata mentioned the term “social enterprise” to me a few months ago, I nodded vaguely, wondering to myself if that had something to do with Facebook.

Once she’d explained the concept to me, I was enamored with it. These are people who value giving back so much that they’ve built it into their business model. Or, as Loyola professor Peter Lorenzi puts it, they have a sense of “intangible wealth.”

Greenbridge Pottery in Dayton is one such local business. You can learn about Greenbridge and other Howard County social enterprises — that routinely support everything from local environmental initiatives and programs serving troubled youths to causes as far abroad as Kenya and Pakistan — in Lisa’s story “Purpose-driven profits.”

What also left a strong impression on me while putting together this issue was the different ways people feel called to give. For many it’s helping out in our hometown. For others, their calling comes from much farther away — Haiti, Tanzania, Zimbabwe, Indonesia. And they go the distance. We caught up with a few Howard County-based charities whose missions take them overseas in the story "Compassion without boundaries."

The need can seem overwhelming, as can the decision on where or whom to focus your philanthropic effort. But if you need inspiration, just look around at your neighbors.

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