United Way and the Region of Peel invest in Social Purpose Enterprise

February 23, 2011

MISSISSAUGA — What began as an occasional catering service is now a revenue-generating business thanks to a Social Purpose Enterprise (SPE) grant jointly funded by United Way of Peel Region and the Region of Peel. License to Cook operated by St. Leonard’s Place in Brampton is one of six projects receiving SPE grants totalling $61,600 this year. St Leonard’s Place provides residential care for homeless men with significant employment barriers.

“The grant from United Way of Peel and the Region of Peel has made it possible for License to Cook to take the first steps to becoming a sustainable business,” says St. Leonard’s Place Peel Program Manager Carmine Spadafora. “License to Cook gives purpose, hope and optimism to the homeless in our community. The SPE grant provides an opportunity for them to improve their lives through gainful employment while experiencing self-worth and value by preparing meals that bring joy to others.”

United Way launched its Social Purpose Enterprise granting stream in 2007 as part of its poverty reduction strategy. The Region of Peel recognized the impact of social purpose enterprise and became a funding partner in 2008.

There are two funding opportunities in this program:

  • SPE Technical Assistance grants, totalling $21,600 this year, will assist agencies in exploring the viability of developing an social purpose enterprise
  • SPE Development grants, totalling $40,000 this year, will help existing SPEs to expand their business.

“A social purpose enterprise is a business operated by a non-profit organization to address social needs while also generating revenue,” explains United Way President and CEO Shelley White. “It improves lives by providing employment opportunities and work experience for individuals outside the traditional workforce including single parents, newcomers, and those with mental health issues or physical disabilities.”

In addition to License to Cook, St. Leonard’s Place Peel is receiving a second SPE Development grant of $20,000 to further expand its cleaning company, License to Clean. License to Clean employs St. Leonard’s residents to provide commercial, industrial and residential cleaning, maintenance, landscaping, moving and small renovations.

The following three agencies are receiving SPE Technical Assistance grants:

Options Mississauga is receiving $5,000 to assess the feasibility of operating a laundry facility that will include self-serve wash and fold as well as outsourcing dry-cleaning. Located in Port Credit, Options Mississauga provides printing and photocopying services. It also provides employment in a safe and supportive work environment for adults with intellectual disabilities.

The Village Keepers Child and Family Centre is receiving $6,600 to be administered through Midaynta Community services-Caledon/Brampton to conduct a feasibility study on operating a cleaning business. Sister’s Cleaning Co-operative would provide women from the newcomers/immigrant/refugee community with job training and employment opportunities.

Vita Centre in Mississauga is dedicated to providing support and parenting skills to pregnant and parenting teens and young adults aged 15 to 30. The agency is receiving two $5,000 grants to assess the feasibility of operating a thrift shop and a daycare which will provide job training and employment opportunities for young moms and moms-to-be.

“Vita Centre is delighted to receive these grants,” says Vita Centre Executive Director Lana Burchett. “Looking into the feasibility of two social purpose enterprise concepts will help us determine how best to develop a new source of revenue for funding our services and programs while giving youth an opportunity for training and employment.”

Media Contact:
Wendy Johnson
Senior Communications Consultant

Information Contact:
Lorna Dixon
Senior Manager, Community Investment