Sal Churi knows that's easier said than done. As a law professor at the University of Chicago, Sal saw how established brick-and-mortar restaurants lobbied government officials to outlaw entrepreneurs like food truck owners. He decided to stand with the entrepreneurs—eventually helping legalize street vending in the Windy City.
Harmful laws like the ones Sal and his clients faced are no anomaly. Across the country, many policies enacted under the guise of public safety only serve to block competition. It helps to explain why entrepreneurship is at a 40-year low, while over the last decade more businesses closed than opened.
Now Sal is helping some of the most promising businesses in the technology space break these barriers as well. In 2018, he co-founded the venture capital fund Trust Ventures. In addition to investing in startups, they help entrepreneurs navigate the regulatory barriers that rig the system and make it nearly impossible to turn their ideas into life-enhancing innovations.
The Stand Together community has invested $36 million in Trust Ventures. They support new companies that build 3D-printed homes that could help house the homeless, pioneer new technologies that could make cleaner and more affordable energy, and work to disrupt the health care industry and dramatically reduce costs.
Innovations like these have the potential to help millions of people improve their lives—if public policy barriers don't stand in their way.
Economist Veronique de Rugy of the Mercatus Center at George Mason University is one of the nation's leading scholars on the issue of how businesses collude with government to rig the system against everyone else. As a result, lawmakers frequently turn to her research to inform their decisions on potentially devastating policy reforms.
The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 was a case in point. Originally, lawmakers proposed a $1 trillion tax hike that Veronique's research showed would have far-reaching consequences on consumers who could least afford it.
Based in part on her work, more than 100 businesses and trade associations united to oppose the proposal. They convinced lawmakers to abandon the policy altogether. The benefit to American families was $1,700 per year, not to mention the millions of jobs that would have been at stake.
Veronique is one of more than 1,000 professors and scholars supported by the Stand Together community. They are producing research that gives policymakers and the public the information they need to understand the consequences of critical problems, such as a rigged economy that favors some at everyone else's expense.
Chris Scott is one of those voices. He is the owner of Howard-McCray, a small business in Philadelphia that makes home appliances. In early 2018, Chris was eager to hire new people and buy machinery. But now those plans are on hold. The U.S. imposed tariffs on steel and aluminum, which raised costs for Howard-McCray and businesses like his across the country.
"That's what the tariffs are doing to us,” Chris told the Associated Press. “We're just going to delay (hiring people and investing in new equipment) until they come off.
Americans for Prosperity—which is part of the Stand Together community—is now amplifying the voices of Chris and others whose livelihoods are at stake, including by hosting a national event in Washington, DC to give Chris and three other business owners a platform to be heard. We've united a coalition of manufacturers, farmers, and more than 50 other groups to speak out.
This is the same approach the Stand Together community has taken in recent years to help pass historic federal policy reforms, including:
And that’s on top of 120 more reforms across 35 states over the last year alone.
A stronger economy that works for all requires that every person have a voice. And by uniting together, we can amplify one another's to make a greater difference.
Mark Loranger would know. He is CEO of Chrysalis, a community nonprofit in southern California that works to help the homeless and other disadvantaged people transition back into the workforce. Mark has found there are a lot of people who want to work. They just don't qualify for a job or know how to find one.
That's where Chrysalis comes in. They offer a program to help people get ready for, find, and keep a job. They help their clients build skills and confidence, both through intensive case management support and immediate employment opportunities. As Donald Smith recalls when he first stepped through Chrysalis’ door: “It was life changing," he says. “It put me in a mindset of… I want to be a better provider for my family.”
Donald is just one of 65,000 people Chrysalis has served since opening its doors in 1984. And the results speak for themselves: 91 percent of graduates increase their monthly income, and 70 percent secure long-term jobs that allow them to improve their lives by contributing to others.
When the Stand Together community began partnering with Chrysalis in 2016, it had been 17 years since they last expanded. Within just 18 months, they had already opened one new location—and by 2020, they'll have opened two more and will have doubled their impact.
“I can't imagine a better place to be as a nonprofit leader, to have somebody say: you're moving too slow, we want to help you grow faster." said Mark.
Chrysalis is just one of three dozen workforce development programs that are supported by the Stand Together community. They're proving that every person can contribute when they have the right tools.
A lot of people talk about getting rid of corporate welfare, spurring life-enhancing innovations, helping the most marginalized populations—these are the social entrepreneurs who are actually doing something about it. These bottom-up efforts started with one person, then engaged hundreds, and now along with many partners, they are poised to make a difference on a national scale.
By standing together and approaching the challenge from different angles, we can build a stronger economy and help every person rise.
There's still a long way to go. What role can you play in driving more progress—and can Stand Together help you greater your good?SM Find out how we can help you launch or grow your own organization or support the most effective groups in the country.
If you're a social entrepreneur looking to start a new venture or want to increase your impact and effectiveness, find out how we can help connect you with the necessary support and resources.
There are many ways you can make a difference on the issues you care about most. Partner with the Stand Together community to help supercharge some of the most effective organizations in the country.