Social enterprise named LIFT is solving homelessness at the systemic level. LIFT is an example of the type of social enterprise the scholars in Action Horizon Institute are building.
Social problems are symptoms of an ill society
Let’s say you had a bad cough and cold so you went to the doctor. The doctor tells you that you have pneumonia. He prescribes you cough medicine and sends you home. Since the doctor did not treat the sickness you may eventually die of pneumonia or the various other complications the pneumonia caused your body to suffer through.
Social problems are similar to the cough you had. We can try to treat a social problem on its own, however the social problem is typically a symptom of a much deeper issue that is difficult to see from the surface.
Social problems are an indication of inequity, or a lack of fairness and justness. If the inequity is not corrected before new generations are brought into the world then inequality becomes baked into the society. At this late stage it becomes quite difficult to correct because all members of the current generation have nothing to do with the initial inequity. Each person is born into their place in the hierarchy. This leads to a general, unspoken acceptance of the inequality. Have you ever wondered why your teachers always described the existence of social problems, but never were we taught how to solve social problems?
There are typically two options to approach social problems
- Band-aid solution: Homeless shelters and soup kitchens are important components when you have massive numbers of community members without food or shelter. However, typical homeless shelters only provide daily shelter which is not consistent or reliable. This is not a solution to homelessness.
- Unlock resources and redesign the system: Ask a group of homeless people who are interested in pulling themselves up by their bootstraps what they are struggling with. Find out the deep underlying causes which led to their homelessness. Create a path to employment for homeless people by making a commitment to hire 80% of your workforce through an incredibly awesome social enterprise like Lift.
LIFT is a social enterprise that solves a social problem at the systemic level
One of the most impressive programs you will see right now is LIFT.
They have created an exemplary model for the emerging social enterprise ecosystem which is finally budding throughout this great nation.
The causes of poverty are uniquely personal. The solutions should be as well.
Here are a few of the must-see resources from LIFT:
- LIFT Home Page
- LIFT Community
- News and Publications
- Co-Founder and CEO, Kirsten Lodal, joins 2015 class of Aspen Institute Ascend Fellows
- Learn more about Aspen Institute Ascend Fellows
- LIFT Social Media Assets
In order to solve a social problem it requires the system to be redesigned.
Reimagine the delivery of services throughout your community.
System design requires all stakeholders of a community to sit at the same table to understand the complexity of the problem. Ask questions. Find out where the problem is coming from. Then work together, as a team, to redesign the components to align better for all involved.
One of our goals is to reimagine the way businesses function in our society. We use the power of business to unlock resources for populations who have fallen victim to generations of compounded inequality.
Until now, we have not had the tools to solve these problems at scale. Nor have we been socialized to pursue meaningful employment in companies that sell products and services which serve the needs of our community members. We are currently creating immense value to fill this gap in our society. This type of value can be discovered by building, managing, and working in social enterprises.