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For Kim’s birthday a few weeks ago we decided to do a chair bombing. We took an old bench, painted it, and placed it in an alcove by our office. Our process was pretty unstructured—we brought tools, cans of leftover paints, an idea, and enthusiasm for working creatively together.

top paint job of bench with words site and see painted in turquoise

The resulting flow was not only fun, it was instructive—about how we need to work at pioneering the 4th sector economy. Why? Because we had no map and didn’t know exactly where we were going. We had to trust each other and allow the process to unfold. That doesn’t sound a lot like business planning—but it reminded me that as sector-building pioneers, we need to be open to exploring, experimenting, doing art, using available resources, and listening to the voices of our communities along the way. That’s how we will build something radically new and intrinsically beautiful.

purple and pink gradient box with quote from Joseph Campbell

bench painted blue with white waves

view of the Wyoming plains grass and trees with blue sky

Sit and See! Enjoy the view from out chair-bombed bench!

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It’s great to be in Chicago at the SEA Summit touring social enterprises, learning and meeting people doing The Great Work.

Darius Ballinger kicked off the conference and encouraged us to approach our work from both the micro and macro levels. He said the micro level represents the tangible things we can do today—the actual work of creating social change. The macro is more complex. It represents the big picture—like 4th sector ecosystem development—that requires conversations with “someone else, and someone else, and someone else, and someone else….” It takes time and conversations with many people to make macro changes occur.

These are the conversations we are excited to have. I like to start with a vision of what is possible—and I would love to hear yours. What does a robust social enterprise sector look like to you?

two women standing in a garden talking

Growing Home Urban Farm produces 25,000 pounds of food on one acre in the city! They also train individuals who are eager to work but need a supportive environment to develop skills. Thanks for your great work and awesome tour!

In the summer of 1997 I sat in a circle of woman who had come together to explore the intersection between leadership and womanhood. We spent time in silence on a Wyoming mountainside, and it was there that I saw a vision unfold of a world transformed through business. I saw entrepreneurs working together to care for people, for Earth, and for healing. I wrote the vision into a book, and took it on as my assignment to make it come true.

Over the next 22 years I tried—and I had some success in bringing sustainable business ideas to Wyoming SBDC, Wyoming Women’s Business Center, ASBDC, and the University of Wyoming. Yet, I was always a bit disappointed that the ideas weren’t catching on fast enough to be considered mainstream. I now recognize that the idea of business-as-a-force-for-good needed time to ripen—and all of the early activists like me were contributors to the ripening process. Today, signs of ripening are beginning to show; for example, last month 181 influential CEOs signed on to a new “Statement on the Purpose of a Corporation” that includes creating value, not just for shareholders, but for ALL stakeholders: customers, employees, suppliers, communities and shareholders. Game on!

green box with quote about power

If you are a business or organization founded on the principle of doing something good for people or the planet—and you’d like to raise some money to help you do it better—now is the time for a crowdfunding campaign on TLC.

Why now? Because TLC wants to help people like you, and our current NSF project includes a study of how to do just that. By becoming part of the study, you’ll receive lots of benefits like coaching and networking with like-minded folks. Plus (and this is a BIG plus!), you can make the standard 5% platform fee disappear by meeting your goals. Interested?

We are recruiting our summer cohort now. Hop on to one of our weekly “Learn More” sessions, held every Friday. We can’t wait to meet you and help you create a successful and productive fundraising campaign!

blue box with statement about learning more about crowdfunding

Your crowdfunding success is just around the corner! Sign up here for our Learn More session.

Kim and I recently had the opportunity to speak at the Electric Cities of Georgia Forum. We met great folks from Georgia’s communities (including our own Sadie Krawczyk from Monroe!), and squeezed in some walking/talking time along Jekyll Island’s awesome beaches. We talked about our new NSF research project and how excited we are to work with social enterprises. These innovative companies are transforming business into a force for good and activating a culture of caring—caring for one another, for community, for the planet, for our future.

Diane Sontum on stage giving a presentation

One of the speakers at the ECG Forum helped us to crystalize our thoughts. Mayor Tommy Allegood of Acworth, GA challenged everyone to identify the one word that describes their organizational culture. Instantly I knew the answer for TLC—a word that our initials have been hinting at since we began—Care. We have always been TLC; but our new NSF work, and my own personal journey, have made us acutely aware that Tender Loving Care is an intention we want to deeply explore, live and amplify. If our culture really is the “stories we tell ourselves about ourselves,” then this story, the story of human beings caring for one other, may be the most important story we’ll ever tell.

selfie of Kim Vincent and Diane Sontum on a beach with ocean behind
blue box with quote from anthropologist Clifford Geertz