Chelsea Oruche REDF asked 3 years ago

Is Coronavirus impacting your Social Enterprise? Have you discovered any local or national resources to help mitigate its impacts on your business or participants?

Johnny Clarke replied 3 years ago

Not yet, however we are sticking to our core focus knowing that funding will flow soon.

Chelsea Oruche REDF replied 3 years ago

Thanks for Sharing Johnny! Where are you located and what is your Enterprise? As you come across funding opportunities in your area, we would love if you could share them here! Keep up the good work!

Johnny Clarke replied 3 years ago

You are welcome, most of our funds will be derived from Disaster Recovery. We are located in San Jose CA, where we teach Cisco Networking Academy to return citizens from incarceration.

To your question, we have local access to emergency funds by pivoting our mission to the second and third pillars (technical education, local employment, and affordable housing). These core values allow us to articulate the need for example showers in the homeless shelters, and provide local employment and technical education when we build them, etc.

Nationally we are using SMB partners to use their IRS179 deductions to improve on materials and hardware. We are reaching out through social networks like Facebook and Twitter to drive small crowdfunding campaigns, and direct the money to needed resources like

As a social enterprise, our value can be identified in SROI so the outcome is most important and finding funds becomes a natural exercise and finding them equally.

I hope that helps, as for resources:

Be Well!

Angie Smith replied 3 years ago

Hi! My name is Angie and I am in Santa Cruz with the Homeless Garden Project. A majority of our staff is working from home (less than 8). However, our program participants are still working on the farm taking extra pre-cautions. This decision was made based on farms and farmers markets being deemed “essential”. I am concerned with our participants being exposed by transportation to the farm (some on buses, walking, biking) and also with the man of them sharing living spaces. I am looking for others opinions to see if I am off-base with this thought process as it conflicts with our organization.

Yodit Beyene replied 3 years ago

Hi Angie, This challenge sounds very familiar. A lot of the Social Enterprises (SEs) REDF is working with are struggling with the same challenges. Some have decided to close, some have decided to carefully manage social distancing and stay open. I am happy to follow up with you to help on this question and suggest other SEs you can talk to as you make your decision.

Johnny Clarke replied 3 years ago

@Chelsea Oruche we are located in San Jose the Silicon Valley Leadership Council has raised over $4M. I am tracking updates and using crowdfunding as we pivot for a few months.

We are a 5/6 generation Training Facility that uses industrial tools, to build and maintain affordable homes. Our training focuses on knowledge of advanced 5/6G Cisco/Meraki wireless network technologies that provide access to information through telecommunications.

This includes the Internet, wireless networks, cell phones, and other communication mediums. It is similar to Information Technology (IT) but focuses primarily on communication technologies.

The second division of training involves building and construction. In this division, we work with American Makers and have a domain called American Maker Made, as the season unfolds we are in collaboration with Sherwin-Williams, Google, Lowe’s, and others to build a two bedroom home for homeless in 5 days.

These two-generation job seekers fill their skill gaps by working directly in our employer designed externship (pre-apprenticeship program) with their sponsor company, migrating information to the cloud, and performing support for operations in IoT, and related careers.

More information at

Larry Robbin replied 3 years ago

For articles on the virus and employment related information and resources go to

1 Answers
Nicole Simoneaux at REDF answered 3 years ago

Great questions Angie. I know many SEs are still operating in partial capacity. And I have heard at least one other SE talk about challenges of a similar nature: the van transport they usually provide was no longer possible because you can’t do social distancing inside the van. Sounds like SEs who are still operating may need some guidance (and supplies?) to help keep employees safe and healthy.