And then there’s Golden Gate Community Inc. (GGCI), which gives back — internally. The umbrella organization, which began 25 years ago by operating a homeless shelter in San Francisco, now runs three social-purpose businesses that train homeless and at-risk youth and adults between the ages of 14 and 30, says CEO Tess Reynolds.
Founded 15 years ago, the first GGCI company, Ashbury Images, a production shop for custom screen-printing on T-shirts and promotional products, now accounts for $2.2 million in annual revenues. Though Ashbury revenues help support other GGCI programs, the money also supports an in-house training program. “Basically, Ashbury pays for itself,” says general manager Kevin McCracken, who started working at the company six years ago after going through a substance-abuse program.
He feels very strongly that GGCI tactics can be put into play at other companies: “I will challenge other business owners to step out of themselves a little … to do something a little bit different.”
No matter the business, one concept remains golden: producing good work or good products must come first — or there will be no business. “This isn’t fantasyland,” says McCracken. “We’re very good.”