Putting people before profit: Why we’re a Social Purpose Company
May 20, 2021We're on a twofold mission: build equal opportunity access to housing and employ a nontraditional workforce.
Classifying ourselves as a Social Purpose Company (SPC) is more than an official designation. It speaks to Pallet’s values and purpose. SPC is the Washington state equivalent to a B corporation. It means our team puts a social purpose above making a profit. We’re on a twofold mission: build equal opportunity access to housing and employ a nontraditional workforce.
Our shelters are used to create transitional villages for people experiencing unsheltered homelessness. Wraparound case management provided by a local service provider helps them stabilize to move onto permanent housing successfully. It’s a proven model assisting people in many cities, including Riverside, California, Tacoma, Washington, and Dallas, Texas.
We employ a nontraditional workforce to meet the goal of ending unsheltered homelessness. Many on our staff have lived experience with homelessness, substance use disorder, and incarceration. At Pallet, employees earn a living wage and receive benefits. From the beginning, our team has informed the design of the shelters and continues to suggest revisions where needed. We’ve created a supportive community where all can thrive and create the life they want. Employment is a critical component to a sustainable movement out of homelessness.
Becoming a SPC also ensured the investors who join us are mission-aligned. Pallet and the board of directors intentionally invest profits back into the people.
You may be wondering why we aren’t a nonprofit. We recognized the scale needed to be successful required a market-based solution. So we brought on partners to front-load the resources required to rapidly meet the needs of the ever-growing homelessness crisis across the country. Doing so allowed us to buy materials, secure a factory, hire staff, and more. The stakeholders on this journey understand Pallet is a social enterprise with the mission being the driving force, not substantial returns on profits.
Further, being a SPC improves our resilience. Unlike a nonprofit, we aren’t dependent upon charity and the economic climate. Because of this model, we can currently build 50 shelters a week. That means more people will have access to transitional housing and a path out of homelessness. At the same time, our manufacturing specialists can continue to have access to economic opportunity and stability.
At Pallet we believe a company can pursue profits and carry out a social purpose. The two don’t need to be competing forces. We’re leading by example.
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