Social Enterprise for Canada is a not-for-profit Ontario corporation with charitable status, it owns and holds the single share of Social Enterprise Canada Inc, a Canadian for-profit corporation. Under SECC we operate Bridge Translations, and Bridge Solutions.
We started as the Vaughan Neighbourhood Support Centre Inc in 1991. The founding objectives of the organization included the ability to generate revenues so that the organization would not be dependent upon donated funds or government support and would be able to continue to invest in areas of high need. The founders were community leaders and second generation newcomers who recognized the barriers to service, the lack of service and absence of diverse populations at planning and decision tables. VNSC worked to address those issues.
Early Ventures included the rental of space to other agencies so a service hub could be provided to community and then the launch of an interpretation and translations service that remains active today.
As the agency expanded the local identifier of a neighbourhood centre was no longer fully descriptive of the agencies unique business approach to public service and charitable work nor its scope of operations. The agency then became York Region Neighbourhood Services Inc.
Social enterprise was a new term and captured well the intent and ethos of the organization, in 2002 the agency was the first charitable agency in Canada to incorporate and own a for-profit corporation. We did this for transparency, and to ensure any enterprise operated on a fair and equal playing field with other business ventures. By separating enterprise from the charity, separate books, clear service agreements and separation of costs and funds was maintained.
We decided to rebrand the agency in 2006 as our identity was muddy. Many funders including UW did not support social enterprise. The majority of traditional funders of charitable services believed that any ethical charity did not engage in any type of business. We felt by adopting the name, we could promote and bring clarity to the intent and purpose of Social Enterprise.
Resources created by SECC has sustained underfunded charitable programs. This includes short fall in administrative costs such as insurance, audit and bookkeeping, Human resource management and general administrative functions. Revenues has also allowed us to provide needed vulnerable programs such as Boys and Girls Clubs service to needed schools in York when funds were not available or adequate.
SEC has benefited each year from SECC resource and reinvestment.
Our motto of building business, enriching lives speaks to how we approach the use and expense of public tax dollars entrusted to us to provide important public services and our overarching goal as an organization to enrich and improve the lives of individuals.