Friday, July 2, 2010

Rubicon National is now New Foundry Ventures

By Rick Aubry, CEO and Founder

As many of you know, our work at Rubicon National grew from the work we began at Rubicon Programs nearly 25 years ago, starting and operating social businesses such as Rubicon Bakery and Rubicon Landscape Services. In 2007, we realized that as important as our work had been to date, we needed to find dramatic new ways to significantly increase the impact of our work. While we had created jobs in our businesses for hundreds of people, we needed to develop businesses that created jobs for tens of thousands of people. While our services positively affected 4,000 people a year at Rubicon, we needed to develop new models that would serve hundreds of thousands of people in order for our efforts to change the inequity challenge in our country.

To achieve these audacious goals we came to the conclusion that it was essential that a new generation of nationally-scaled social enterprises be created. We initially incubated this theory as part of Rubicon Programs. To increase the likelihood of our success and to focus on our ability to build significantly larger national impact, we created and spun off Rubicon National as a separate nonprofit in 2009 to focus on our mission of building the next generation of scalable social enterprises. While we are extremely proud of the work we achieved as Rubicon Programs, we want to make sure the work we are doing today is clear as national in vision and scope and distinct from the activities focused primarily on one local region. A board member of Rubicon Programs once said to me, “National reputation, local player, what’s wrong with this picture?” We believe our new identity as New Foundry Ventures will allow us to build on our national reputation and focus on national issues.

Our reputation as action-focused, “doers” is baked into our organization’s DNA, so we loved the image of a foundry that gets things done. The work of our foundry is to build new ventures – in collaboration with others and through ventures we incubate and grow. We are market-fixers that identify opportunities where traditional markets don’t exist or are failing. By building social businesses that provide good financial credit, greater access to healthy food, and energy efficiency for low-income communities—while also creating jobs for those in need—we create lasting, sustainable and systemic solutions to some of the most important challenges facing disenfranchised communities in the U.S. Learn more about the work we are doing today across Financial Services, Energy Efficiency, and Community Food Access, as well as our Advisory Services.

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