JFCS Takes Entrepreneurial Approach
"Social enterprises are designed to be more insulated from the ups and downs of philanthropy and economic cycles," Schorr said. "But of course, these times are so unusual, it's hard to say if anything can withstand them entirely."
Schorr estimated only about 10 percent of the nonprofit sector has assumed a social enterprise model since the late '80s, but she said that not all nonprofits make good candidates for revenue-generating organizations. Still, the social enterprise movement is growing, especially in the Bay Area, Schorr said, and the concept is widespread among social service programs in the United Kingdom.
Those who can, pay
Some JFCS clients can pay for the organization's services, Friedman said.
"We serve people in Pacific Heights who are the pillars of the community and we serve people in the Tenderloin with the same services," she said. "For the people who can afford to pay, we charge; for those who can't afford to pay, we subsidize."
Friedman, who immigrated to the United States after World War II, understands the difficulties families can face and the importance of community services. After her sister, brother and grandparents were among 200 family members killed during the Holocaust, mostly in the Warsaw ghetto, she and her relatives settled in Brooklyn.
"It gave me a special sensitivity to suffering and why it's important for a community to care for its members," she said. "And why it's important for all of us to be involved in social action."
In 1969, Friedman left New York City for UC Berkeley, where she took part in the student activism - the anti-war movement, the women's rights movement, the civil rights movement - unfolding on Sproul Plaza. "Not a lot of school happened that first year," Friedman recalled. "A lot of our leaders of institutions today came out of that period and brought with them, as I did, a lot of values about equality and social justice."