The New York Times published an extremely interesting story about non-profit organizations and the arriving "green" economy. In many ways, non-profits are leading the charge with groundbreaking moves.
Here's a taste of the story:
Nonprofit Groups Spin Off Green Ventures
by Sally Ryan
October 28, 2009
Sweet Beginnings, a line of urban honey and natural body care products, is part of a growing trend among small businesses: for-profit ventures spun off by nonprofit groups that teach skills for green jobs. Mario Casasnovas was on the green roof of the Bronx County Building a couple of weeks ago, remembering the flowers there in the summer and offering some tips about handling the sedum that is the main plant on the roof.
“The roots from the clover,” a weed, “tend to wrap around the roots of a sedum,” he said, nine floors above the Grand Concourse, near Yankee Stadium. “You’ve got to be careful not to pull out the sedum with the clover.”
Mr. Casasnovas, an employee of SmartRoofs L.L.C., was doing routine maintenance on the vegetative roof, which his company installed in June 2003. The company, based in the Bronx, is one of the few green roofers in the New York metropolitan area. But what makes SmartRoofs even more unusual is that it is part of a tiny but growing trend among small businesses: for-profit ventures spun off by nonprofit groups that teach the job skills necessary to join the nascent green economy.
SmartRoofs was developed by the nonprofit group Sustainable South Bronx, which also runs the Bronx Environmental Stewardship Training, one of the country’s first efforts to train people for green-collar jobs. The program now trains more than 60 low-income workers each year, using funds from a variety of sources, mostly outside government.
Only a handful of these small businesses exist across the country. “These social enterprises are early adopters of green industry,” Phaedra Ellis-Lamkins, chief executive of Green for All, a national organization working to create green economic opportunities in disadvantaged communities, said via e-mail. “These ventures are paving the way for mainstream business to integrate the concept of green jobs into everyday practices.”
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