580 Grand Avenue Suite 206
Oakland, California 94610
Check out Juma Ventures opportunities on VolunteerMatch.
By Carol M. Karimi
With summer approaching, baseball season is here again. Between the calls of "Peanuts!" and "Popcorn!" at several big league parks, you may hear another word altogether: "Purpose!"
Social purpose, that is. That's because many of the vendors will be hard at work fulfilling the mission of Juma Ventures. By creating business opportunities for disadvantaged youth at many of today's busiest stadiums, the organization is delivering on social needs while also hitting the mark as a successful business.
Whether you call it social enterprise or nonprofit entrepreneurship, Juma Ventures is a stand-out example of a growing effort in nonprofit management to insert sound business planning into the heart of social change.
Juma gained national attention in 1994 when it was the first nonprofit in the country to be awarded a corporate business franchise -- a Ben and Jerry's ice cream shop in San Francisco.
Six "businesses" later, Juma continues to provide jobs and business training for young people, allowing them to save money for college or support themselves while planning a positive financial future.
Bay Area resident Ana Fortin has helped recruit volunteers for Juma for the last two years as its operations manager and volunteer coordinator. While the youth in its programs hold paid positions, Juma counts on volunteers to help with a variety of events including its annual Field of Dreams fundraiser.
Fortin found out about Juma at the tail end of a three-month photography program she helped create for homeless youth in Oakland.
"When the program finished one of my partners told me about a job opportunity at Juma Ventures and it sounded fascinating!" she said.
For its youth, taking part in a Juma program involves a commitment from March through November to work at various food concession operations. Current locations include AT&T and Monster Park in San Francisco, Oracle Arena and Oakland Coliseum in Oakland, Cal Memorial Stadium in Berkeley, Qualcomm in San Diego, and Nationals Stadium in Washington, D.C.
Fortin has used VolunteerMatch to find skilled volunteers for projects that might otherwise prove too costly for the nonprofit.
One such volunteer match is volunteer Stephen Mortimer, who helps with graphic design. Even though Mortimer lives in England, the two were able to connect through VolunteerMatch.org and Mortimer has since been instrumental in creating a new logo for one of Juma's programs, new letterhead and business cards.
Their shared commitment has helped Fortin and Mortimer forge a partnership that lasts to this day. Fortin says volunteers like Mortimer have been such a help that Juma is hoping to create a new Volunteer Department.
Fortin offers just one piece of advice for other volunteer recruiters: "Keep the motivation on!" she said. "There are always really fun people ready to volunteer for your cause."
Do you have an important social enterprise or nonprofit mission that you want to continue succeed and grow? VolunteerMatch gets more than six million visitors a year who are just as enthusiastic to give back.