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Purpose | History | Advisory Board | Key Staff

Who We Are

SocialReturns is a new nonprofit organization designed to grow the practice of social entrepreneurship among nonprofits throughout the world. The organization builds upon the ground-breaking work of the former Partnership on Nonprofit Ventures- a proven business model that worked to increase the financial and operational capacity of hundreds of nonprofit organizations each year.

We expect to launch a new series of Social Enterprise Business Plan Competitions in the next several months. We look forward to sending an announcement about the award categories, the criteria for entrance, and the start date for the first Competition.

To ensure that we contact you with important updates, please become a subscriber of the SocialReturns website. There is no fee to join. Join the new!

What We Do

SocialReturns educates people about social enterprise and social entrepreneurship, and helps innovative nonprofit, philanthropic, and private sector organizations build their entrepreneurial skills and use them to affect positive and lasting social change. Its programming includes the signature products that were the core strengths of The Partnership, and more:

  • The Social Enterprise Business Plan Competition is the primary program for educating and funding social entrepreneurs, especially nonprofits that want to earn income to support their organizational missions. This annual business plan competition awards grants and consulting services to nonprofit organizations with the most promising profit-making ventures.

    When fully capitalized, the new Competitions will offer nonprofit organizations an opportunity to compete for sponsor-named awards in select programmatic and geographic categories.

  • The University Consortium on Social Enterprise and Entrepreneurship is a virtual network of faculty and students teaching and studying social enterprise and entrepreneurship, who join together to conduct research, publish materials, develop coursework and curricula, and design innovative entrepreneurial programs with and for nonprofits in their communities.

  • The Website of Resources on Social Enterprise and Entrepreneurship is a fully searchable site for accessing a myriad of resources on the subject and for connecting with other social entrepreneurs and entrepreneurial organizations.

  • An Annual Conference and Awards Ceremony includes master classes and workshops, and features the business plan presentations of finalists in the Social Enterprise Business Plan Competition.

Our Leadership

SocialReturns is led by Cynthia W. Massarsky, a 30-year veteran in the field of social enterprise and founder and former co-director of Yale University's Partnership on Nonprofit Ventures. An advisory board is currently in formation.

Our Sponsors

SocialReturns is soliciting new corporate and foundation partners who will bring support, strategic direction, and leverage to SocialReturns and the field at-large.

We are poised to roll out a strategy to help bring the social enterprise movement to new heights. If you are interested in learning more about sponsorship, please call Cynthia Massarsky at (201) 569-6692 or email

SocialReturns and the Social Enterprise Business Plan Competition offer foundations, private sector companies, and social investors the opportunity to name financial and consulting awards to nonprofit organizations whose mission or business venture is in the funder/sponsor's programmatic or geographic area of interest. We will also accept the naming of awards that are in a particular stage of business development, i.e., new, early stage, growth stage, etc. - to respond to this funding interest and so that our program will be more closely aligned to the type of financing available in the private sector. With this approach, funders can now tailor an award to meet their guidelines for grant funding or sponsorships, and will have the ability to track the recipients of their awards over time.

Potential categories for awards include:


Arts and Culture
Children and Youth
Community/Economic Development/Housing
Employment and Training
Financial, Insurance, Legal Products / Services
Food Products / Food Services
Social Services/Human Services
Specific Populations, e.g., Women, Hispanic, African American

Type of Business

Service-related (fees for service)
Product-related (sales / manufacturing)
Real Estate
Cause-marketing / licensing

Stage of Business

New (business venture not yet in operation)
Early Stage (business venture in operation for up to 24 months)
Growth Stage/Going to Scale (business venture in operation for more than 24 months)


U.S. (specific state or region if sufficient number of nonprofits)
International/Non-U.S. (specific country or region if sufficient number of nonprofits)

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