A Story For You – Sister Bernice Garcia
Could it be possible to build a sustainable business driven by a social mission? On Broadway in San Jose Parish in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Susan Matteucci and Grand Rapids Dominican Sister Bernice Garcia set out to make it happen. Southwest Creations Collaborative (SCC) was organized in 1994 as a sewing and handwork poverty alleviation project with a single goal: to provide dignified, living wage employment to women from low-income communities. SCC offered affordable childcare, adult education, and programs to engage parents in their children’s education. In 2011, an intergenerational college readiness program was launched.
More than $9.5 million in wages have been paid into Albuquerque’s community and economy. Revenue has grown from $30,000 to over one million dollars, and business operations are 100% self-sufficient and contribute over $100,000 annually to support social impact programs. Onsite childcare is still just $0.25/hr; more than 700 children of employees are enrolled in public school; 98% graduate from high school; 86% attend college.
“Our success proves that a sustainable business can be driven by a social vision: provide well-paying jobs with low-cost childcare, invest in employee training and development, and advocate for social change.” – Susan Matteucci, Executive Director