New Foundry Ventures creates and supports the next generation of social enterprises that improve the well-being of low-income individuals and communities.
Focus: Enterprise Development, Labour Conditions and Unemployment
Geographic Area of Impact: US
Model: Social Business
Number of Direct Beneficiaries: 11,250 (2011)
Annual Budget: US$ 610,822 (2010)
Percentage Earned Revenue: 85%
Recognition: Schwab Fellow of the World Economic Forum
New Foundry (formerly Rubicon National Social Innovations) believes that for social enterprise to have a significant impact on poverty in America, it must be re-imagined on a much greater scale. Its goal is to create and support the next generation of social enterprises that improve the well-being of low-income individuals and communities. By building businesses that create jobs and provide greater access to healthy food, good credit and energy efficiency for low- and moderate-income communities, it is creating sustainable and systemic solutions to some of the most pressing challenges facing the US.
Innovation and Activities
New Foundry is the “Social Enterprise 2.0” evolution for Rubicon, one of the first Social Enterprise organizations in the US. It builds upon the lessons learned from this pioneering organization over its 25 years of creating and scaling social businesses. New Foundry’s progenitor, Rubicon, created two thriving social enterprises: Rubicon Bakery, an award-winning San Francisco dessert bakery brand distributed to over 2,000 US supermarkets; and Rubicon Landscape. In aggregate these two businesses have brought nearly US$ 200 million in revenues into an impoverished US community.
New Foundry is moving its work forward significantly by acting as a social business incubator for the enterprises it spawns, and working in partnership with global businesses and academic institutions to build the field of social entrepreneurship by creating opportunities in new places, whether low income communities, major corporations or leading research universities. Its work focuses on increasing the success and scale of social enterprises by implementing business practices that optimize financial sustainability and expand the sphere of impact created by these businesses.
New Foundry Ventures works collaboratively with nonprofits, businesses, universities and community organizations to launch sustainable business models that have undergone extensive piloting and prototyping. It also works as a “convening hub”, bringing together players in the “social change ecosystem” to create innovative solutions regardless of who owns or is credited with the work. The focus is on social impact rather than brand building.
Rick Aubry has run New Foundry and its predecessor Rubicon for over 25 years. A psychologist by training, he applied his skills to business and for two decades has been a leader in the field of social entrepreneurship in the US. Rubicon was recognized for five consecutive years by Fast Company magazine as One of the 25 Organizations Changing the World. Aubry is an Ashoka senior fellow and a CNN/Time magazine “Principal Voice”. To help create the next generation of social entrepreneurs Aubry is also working with Tulane University as Assistant Provost for Social Entrepreneurship, developing the first US undergraduate major in Social Entrepreneurship. He continues on the faculty of Stanford University's Graduate School of Business teaching Social Entrepreneurship and Innovation.