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Impact Conversations is a show about change makers getting things done. 

Sally Fazal and Lynn Fergusson of Social Impact Advisors talk to NGO leaders, philanthropists, social entrepreneurs and environmental innovators about their goals and how they're reaching them.

Oct 14, 2021

In this episode, Mary Ellen Schaasfma, Director and Co-Founder of the Social Purpose Institute (SPI) at United Way BC, shares the concept of businesses having a social purpose as their reason for being, beyond profit. Over the last 5 years, SPI has been piloting programming to help businesses determine and implement their social purpose, in an effort to create a movement of businesses for good. 


While it’s more often that businesses support charities, Mary Ellen explains how it makes sense for United Way to support the business sector in having a societal purpose– social and/or environmental – at its core to best benefit the community, in fact, to create the thriving community that United Ways often aspire to.  It’s also an opportunity for United Way to shift, changing not only its approach for impacting the community but how it engages corporations.  This work has gained the attention of funders, interested in seeing this innovative model adopted across the country.  We suggest it’s worth your attention too, whether as a funder, nonprofit or for profit organization.  Have a listen. 




Social Purpose Institute:  

Social Purpose Innovators program:  

Social Purpose Implementers program:  

Mary Ellen Shaafsma:  

Coro Strandberg:  

Hemlock Printers:  

GLOBE Events:  

Propelling Purpose Summit:  Road to Purposeful Economy (discount code PAN-21):  



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