Consumers are now more informed and conscious about where they spend their money. They want to know how businesses are positively impacting their local and global communities. The Fourth Sector of the economy has risen to answer this call from consumers. This movement within business seeks to create social and environmental impact through the powerful economic engine of capitalism. It is reshaping the economy, capitalism, funders, businesses, and nonprofits. This model offers organizations the opportunity to actively engage in creating value while still focusing on the bottom line.

The Colorado Institute for Social Impact (CI4SI) embraces these Social Impact Businesses that merge mission and margin, purpose and profit. It was born from the combined passion and years of social enterprise experience from members of the Colorado Springs community. Originally founded as the Colorado Coalition for Social Impact in 2016, the organization quickly evolved into CI4SI as the community gave an incredible response to the need to organize and educate on this new, evolving sector of the economy.

Colorado Springs has always had a very strong non-profit community and a robust for-profit sector; the stories and passions of local entrepreneurs inspire us to further accelerate the evolution of business. We believe Social Impact can evolve capitalism. We believe that Social Impact Businesses can inspire others to strive for a higher purpose.

Whereas many great organizations direct their efforts overseas, the Colorado Institute for Social Impact focuses on the complex issues in our local communities. We have lands that we want to protect, and we have people in our backyard that need our help.

CI4SI was created with the following goals in mind:

  • Measure the sector’s impact (Social Return on Investment)
  • Accelerate awareness of the Fourth Sector of the economy
  • Promote and build businesses that are interested in generating social impact
  • Provide Social Entrepreneurs with resources, training, and education
  • Become a catalyst for this sector and build a network
  • Create a community and culture for this sector

What services do we offer?

  • Education and Training
  • Social Return on Investment (SROI)
  • Events and Networking
  • Speaking and Keynotes
  • Consultation Services

Who do we serve?

For-Profits:

  • Seeking to start a new Social Impact Business
  • Seeking to add Social Impact to their Existing Business through a new SI product or service

Nonprofits:

  • Conversion to a Social Impact Business
  • Creation of a separate Social Enterprise Entity

Funders:

  • Funding Development/Evolution
  • Social Return on Investment for funding evaluation
  • Investing in Social Entrepreneurs/Impact Fund

Communities:

  • Education and Training
  • Networking
  • Awards
  • Strategic Planning
  • Social Return on Investment (SROI)

What is social return on investment?

Social Return on Investment (SROI) measures the social value that a Social Impact Business creates by turning their impact into numbers that everyone can understand. This helps them tell a stronger story as well as expand their ideas about their own impact.

Social Return On Investment, also referred to as SROI, was coined in the early 2000s. This concept takes the common term of Return on Investment and applies it to Social Impact that goes beyond the bottom line of that company and relates its impact in the community. The Colorado Institute for Social Impact sees this as a very individualized process that is based on information being gathered by the organization, research, and data to support the value of that impact, and then a full report on how that impact is measured and applied. This measurement is used to determine the additional value of investment related to the impact that a socially innovative business decision has to a community related to traditional resources invested. For example, Bridge to Justice, a social enterprise law firm in Boulder, Colorado has an SROI value that shows for every $1 invested, it has a $3.20 return to the community. This measurement can be used by a Social Impact Business to evaluate the impact on stakeholders, identify ways to improve performance, and communicate value to the community.

What are the prism awards?

The first-of-its-kind community celebration, the PRISM Awards honors social impact businesses and social entrepreneurs throughout Colorado in three categories: Social Impact Business of the Year, Social Impact Startup of the Year, and Social Entrepreneur of the Year. Nominations open in January each year and are followed by the awards celebration in March.