kidsLINK and social enterprise: Over 18 years of growth
Our first social enterprise began in 1994 as a strategy for sustainability. Since then, kidsLINK has tripled its size while reducing dependence on government funding. At the same time, we have freedom to invest in new ways of improving the lives of children, youth and their families.
In 2008, 25 per cent of kidsLINK’s $7.2-million budget came from earned income; 140 employees helped more than 11,000 children and youth, and provided training and consultation to more than 2,000 professionals; 75 per cent of funding came from government.
kidsLINK’s philosophy is that an enterprise may put a higher priority on its social return on investment than its financial return on investment, even to the point of the enterprise requiring some subsidy. Funds generated from profitable social enterprises permit kidsLINK to support important yet costly activities such as respite care.
kidsLINK remains committed to social enterprise for the clear and measureable benefit it brings to our ability to make a difference for children, youth and families.
kidsLINK ‘s former CEO, Sonia Pouyat, transformed this 155-year-old charity into one that engages in mission-focused social enterprise as a strategy for growth, sustainability and extending the reach of its mission.
Sonia had taken a leading role in the development and promotion of social entrepreneurship and social enterprise in North America. Her involvement began in 1998, working to develop the field and assist non-profit organizations to have the choice of embracing this model as a means of furthering their missions. She was a founding member of the Social Enterprise Council of Canada.