Social entrepreneurship organization Causeway is spreading its mission to other cities by licensing its name and resources.
“Every nonprofit is trying to figure out ways to make some money and replicate what they are doing,” Executive Director Abby Garrison said. “That’s always been on the radar.”
The organization has grown from being run out of local business Delegator in 2011 to gaining foundation funding to building out programming, in addition to the website, which is an online platform that connects budding civic entrepreneurs with community members who have resources to help them.
Recently, Causeway licensed its name and programming to the city of Huntsville in Alabama. And this year, organizers in Huntsville hosted One Table-a free community meal that happens the week of Thanksgiving.
Huntsville’s first One Table event was “wildly successful”-it drew about 800 people, Garrison said.
Chattanooga’s Causeway has been maturing as an organization, and leaders in Huntsville are where local leaders were about five years ago. Currently, the Huntsville leaders are all volunteers who want to better their community, she also said.
The Huntsville leaders approached Chattanooga Causeway leaders about licensing the name. Garrison and her team advised Huntsville leaders how to follow in their footsteps, starting with the crowdsourcing platform, which is where Chattanooga’s Causeway started.
She’s unsure exactly how the word is spreading-likely media and social media-but about four organizations or towns have reached out to Chattanooga in hopes of replicating One Table.
“The prospect of having a licensing line of business is kind of cool,” Garrison said. “We are still figuring it out. We’ve got [Huntsville] figured out, but [we are working on] what it would look like in other cities.”
Now, local Causeway leaders are focusing more on how to connect to similar organizations and leaders.
They’ve joined Nashville’s Social Enterprise Alliance, which serves as a catalyst in the growing world of social enterprise. The organizations provide resources and opportunities to members, who are leaders of nonprofits/social businesses and educators working toward financially sustainable social innovation.
“I feel like we are just starting,” Garrison said. “We are going to really be trying to help people broaden their definitions of what types of organizations, what types of people and what types of investments can help solve social challenges.”