Social Enterprises

Posted in: Diversion and Reentry Support, Funded Initiatives, News

Posted on October 23, 2017

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr., has awarded $7.1 million to three social enterprises – run by Drive Change, Sweet Generation Bakery, and The HOPE Program – to create employment opportunities and career training for at-risk youth and formerly incarcerated New Yorkers. The Manhattan District Attorney’s Office is providing these grants through its Criminal Justice Investment Initiative (“CJII”), which District Attorney Vance created using criminal forfeiture funds obtained through the Office’s settlements with international banks for violating U.S. sanctions.


Social enterprises are non-profit organizations (or non-profit divisions of for-profit entities) which blend the social welfare mission of a non-profit organization with the market-driven approach of a business. Social enterprises offer positive economic impact within communities that offer fewer job opportunities, helping to curb the cycle of poverty and unemployment that often correlates with justice-system involvement. Additionally, social enterprises offer job opportunities for individuals reentering communities following incarceration, who typically face significant barriers to employment, including deterioration of job-related skills, and employer attitudes and policies.


District Attorney Vance awarded 3 ½-year grants totaling $7.1 million to help three organizations enhance and develop social enterprises that employ young people at risk of becoming involved in the justice system, or New Yorkers reentering their communities after a period of incarceration.


  • Drive Change
    • Award: $3,070,475
    • Primary Demographic: Formerly incarcerated young adults (18-25)
    • Services and Programming: Drive Change’s Commissary for Social Justice will create a mobile food vendor commissary where formerly incarcerated individuals will be trained in culinary arts and business skills related to the needs of mobile vendors.
  • Sweet Generation Bakery
    • Award: $2,179,168
    • Primary Demographic: At-risk and justice involved youth and young adults (ages 16-24)
    • Services and Programming: Sweet Generation Bakery’s Sweet Generation RISE will train youth and young adults in artisanal baking and handcrafted pastries, while also teaching job-readiness, entrepreneurship skills, and fostering social-emotional development.
  • The HOPE Program 
    • Award: $1,870,904
    • Primary Demographic: At-risk young adults (18-24) and formerly incarcerated individuals
    • Services and Programming: HOPE’s Intervine program will provide soft and hard-skills training and transitional paid job opportunities to participants focused on horticultural, green infrastructure installation and maintenance, and solar photovoltaic installation services.

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