Monthly Archives: May 2008

The Road Home… A Service Project Worth Remembering

Tuesday, May 27. Salt Lake City, Utah. Business casual and shiny cars drive cautiously to the shelter. The sign says, “Honk for Donations.” In succession the cars drive through the ominous gate.

I’ve grown up in Salt Lake. But this area of town is unfamiliar. The building and stretch of faces on Rio Grande road almost ask to be forgotten.

We step out of our cars and into the Road Home Homeless Shelter Docking area. It is a small area with a single wide ramp leading to the back of shelter. No pictures are allowed inside. No tours. We look awkward in our business casual dress shoes.

In only a few minutes we unloaded our supplies and we were done.

No fan fare. No smothering thank yous. The books, towels and blankets were delivered.

We walked around the shelter to take some final mental pictures before leaving. The people lined up outside the door looked suspiciously at the passing dockers and collard shirts.

A few moments of introspection. We get back in our cars and drive off to eat and “talk business.”

Not the normal day of work, but certainly a worthwhile one.

The fact is, we were delivering materials as part of a challenge for young entrepreneurs to give back to the community.

Getting the materials was easy. Who’s going to say “no” to sharing their extra substance with the homeless? Some of us went door to door. Some of us asked our friends and neighbors.

We were all able to contribute.

Few people will say no. But how many remember?

How often have I remembered?

The Road Home is Non-Profit based in Salt Lake City, dedicated to providing materials and support for the homeless. Visit their website to learn more about you can help utah’s homeless.

It’s All About The Triple Bottom Line

I have spent the last three years of my life working in the growing segment of businesses known as triple-bottom-line companies or social ventures. According to the Skoll Foundation ( –a foundation based on the principles that strategic investments can lead to lasting social change) a social entrepreneur is: society’s change agent, a pioneer of innovations that benefit humanity.

Although this is a relatively new movement, all around us we see the growing momentum of companies identifying and implementing aspects of social responsibility into their models. This is as much a financial decision as anything else! Dollars spent on social programs can often make more marketing or operational sense than traditional advertising or waste management methods. In these circumstances everybody wins. As society continues to demand more responsibility it continues to pay for companies to develop and demonstrate a competent social strategy.

There is a wealth of knowledge on the subject, best summarized and directed, (In my personal opinion) on Wikipedia. and the internal and external links provide a very good summary. Applying these principles in a business certainly does not have to be a gigantic overhaul, or a substantial change in the business model. Sometimes it’s as simple as a personal change in perspective. Implementing these principles into a business model however, can create lasting strategic partnerships and goodwill that provide a legacy and public image much bigger and better than money alone can provide.